NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Mid-state drivers will soon see more and more TDOT workers on Tennessee roads, and the Tennessee Department of Transportation is urging drivers to be on the lookout.
Including two workers killed last year in middle Tennessee, 112 TDOT workers have been killed on the job.
Workers bolted strobe lights to the back of a crash cushion at the TDOT headquarters Monday morning. The large metal structures are designed to absorb the impact of a speeding car or truck.
"Your vehicle is a 2,000 to 3,000 lb missile that doesn't stop on a dime,” said Roger Messenger, senior operating technician.
TDOT needs those crash cushions to protect roadside workers from speeding or distracted drivers.
"I give thanks every time I send my crew out, and I get them to come back,” Messenger said.
"Work Zone Awareness Week kicks off on Monday. Near the Demonbreun Street exit, thousands of drivers pass dozens of orange barrels. Each one represents one TDOT worker who's lost his or her life helping others on the side of the road."
"We've lost three workers this past year, and two of them came from our region in Middle Tennessee,” said Kathryn Schulte, TDOT spokesperson.
Last April, Paving Supervisor David Younger died a after semi-truck driver him on the shoulder of I-40 in Hickman County. On Christmas Eve, a driver hit and killed JR Rogers, who stopped to help a driver with a flat tire.
Schulte said drivers will see more and more workers in the coming weeks as crews hit the roads to fix potholes.
"So you're about to see a lot of work crews out there, a lot of people in the road, taking care of the roads so we really use this week to get the word out to keep our people safe,” Schulte said.
Messenger says when you're out on the road slow down and keep your eyes off your phone. He said it's a good way to protect both his team and yourself in work zones.
"They're my heroes, and she-roes," Messenger said.
Tennessee's move over law says if you see workers or TDOT trucks on the side of the road, you have to either slow down, or move one lane over.