WisDOT, city of Milwaukee urge safe driving in Wisconsin work zones

​​​​​​​​​Release date: September 7, 2023

Hundreds of work zones are active every day across Wisconsin on local streets, county highways or state roads. Whether it’s maintenance operations, roadway reconstruction projects or utility work, safe driving behavior is critical in all work zones no matter the size or location. Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) officials today join​ed the City of Milwaukee Department of Public Works (DPW), Milwaukee Police Department, community leaders and industry partners at a news conference in Milwaukee to emphasize safe driving in work zones.

“Construction crews work day and night to improve the roads and bridges we rely on,” WisDOT Southeast Region Deputy Director Emlynn Grisar said. “We are doing everything we can to keep our highways safe, but we need drivers to do their part. Your decisions behind the wheel have a direct impact on their safety. You can help keep them safe – eyes up and speeds down on Wisconsin roadways. Safe drivers create safe work zones.”

Data shows more than 2,000 crashes were recorded in Wisconsin work zones in 2022, resulting in eight deaths and more than 650 injuries. In Wisconsin, work zones include highway construction and rolling maintenance operations as well as emergency response, municipal projects and utility work along local roads.

“We encourage all drivers to be cautious in work zones, whether you are on the interstate or a local road,” Milwaukee DPW Commissioner Jerrel Kruschke said. “Local construction projects often require drivers to be extra attentive to things like changes in traffic patterns and narrow lanes to avoid accidents. Milwaukee DPW and WISDOT work together to provide drivers with accurate information to keep everyone safe – you can do your part by slowing down, not using your phone when driving, and staying alert.”

​Cell phone use is one of the most common factors in distracted driving crashes. Wisconsin law prohibits texting while driving on any road. It is also illegal to use a hand-held mobile device in work zones and in areas surrounding emergency response vehicles with flashing lights. Motorists are urged to buckle up and put their phone down when driving.

Today’s event held at a park adjacent to Vliet Street in Milwaukee continues WisDOT’s season-long campaign to increase work zone safety messaging across the state. WisDOT engages with county highway partners, Wisconsin Counties Association, Wisconsin Transportation Builders Association and others to promote safe driving in work zones.

How can people help?

  • Drive safely. Be courteous, avoid distractions and obey posted speed limits.
  • Leave the phone alone. Texting while driving is illegal statewide and talking on a hand-held mobile device is illegal in work zones.
  • Move over, or slow down, when you see workers and vehicles with flashing lights along the highway. Wisconsin's Move Over Law applies to maintenance operations as well as emergency response units.
  • Buckle Up, Phone Down. Take the pledge at wisconsindot.gov/BUPD and share your commitment with others. Participants are encouraged to share a thumbs up/thumbs down photo on social media using the hashtag #BuckleUpPhoneDown then challenge friends, family and coworkers to do the same.

​Visit wisconsindot.gov and search "​​​​work zone" for more tips and information.

For more information, contact:

WisDOT Office of Public Affairs
(608) 266-3581, opa.exec@dot.wi.gov