April 8–12, 2019, Is “Work Zone Awareness Week” in Marathon County

Written by Brad Karger


Work zone safety is EVERYBODY’S responsibility.

I care a lot about the safety of our County workers performing road construction in traffic, and I know that you do, too. A car–pedestrian collision can result in a fatality, and no one wants that.

But in the hustle and bustle of day-to-day living, it can be easy to be in a hurry and lose sight of how important it is to SLOW DOWN when you approach a work zone, where our highway crews are working within mere inches of moving vehicles.

Marathon County Highway Department crew performing concrete repairs on State Highway 29. (Photo courtesy of Kevin Lang.)

In 2017, Wisconsin suffered from 2,700 crashes in road construction and maintenance zones, resulting in over 1,000 injuries and 6 fatalities. Rear-end crashes (running into the back of a slowing or stopped vehicle) are the most common type of work zone crashes, so remember to leave 3 seconds of braking distance between you and the car in front of you.

What’s more . . .

4 out of 5 times it is the motorist who is hurt or killed — not the worker — so the life you’re saving may very well be your own!

Our County Highway crews are trained to set up and maintain a safe work zone. Our workers wear high-visibility safety vests. All that is needed from you is to:

Give ’em a Brake.

When you enter a work zone:

  • Obey the signs
  • Slow down
  • Merge safely
  • Stay alert
  • Don’t tailgate
  • Be aware of driving conditions
  • Don’t use your handheld cell phone

Did you know…?

It is illegal to talk on a handheld mobile device while driving in a Wisconsin road work zone.


(Image courtesy of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.)

Hands-free and Bluetooth devices are legal to use. However, some studies show that even these can distract a driver, so please use extra caution in a work zone.

The Marathon County Sheriff’s Department and the Wisconsin State Patrol are aware of the danger when motorists fail to slow down in work zones, so they’ve periodically assigned officers to give work zones special attention.

Marathon County Highway Department crew performing concrete repairs on State Highway 29. (Photo courtesy of Kevin Lang.)

I’d prefer that you decide all on your own to slow down in work zones because you want everyone present to go home safely to their families at the end of the day — including you.

But if you momentarily lose concentration or your attention is distracted and you violate the reduced speed limits of a work zone, you could get a ticket for up to $600. A second violation within a year may carry a penalty of up to $1,200, so it truly pays to SLOW DOWN.

(Image courtesy of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.)

Let’s use Work Zone Awareness Week from April 8 to 12 to remind ourselves to work together and be considerate of our Marathon County Highway Department workers present to serve YOU.

Marathon County Highway Department crew performing concrete repairs on State Highway 29. (Photo courtesy of Kevin Lang.)

Help avoid a tragedy this spring and summer when our crews are out working on the roads as you pass by.

Thanks for SLOWING DOWN.


Brad Karger - Marathon County AdministratorBrad Karger

Marathon County Administrator

In his Administrator role, Brad Karger leads an organization with 700+ employees and an annual budget of more than $162 million. Brad has been in leadership positions with Marathon County for the past 30 years. He is known statewide for generating innovative ideas and solutions to problems, openness and transparency, and a commitment to community service that extends well beyond the normal workday.  Email Brad Karger.

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