ST. LOUIS – When you see the signs or the lights while on the road, it’s time to pay attention.

“We have work zones going on on almost every state route in the St. Louis region throughout 2024,” MoDOT District Engineer Tom Blair said.

This week, MoDOT and IDOT came together for National Work Zone Awareness Week, during a crucial time when temperatures are on the rise and more workers are out on projects.

“The people you pass working behind those cones and those barricades are somebody’s family member or neighbor,” IDOT’s Joel Cumby said.

63 MoDOT protective vehicles were hit last year, according to Blair.

“Every case that we see, we have distracted drivers that are not paying attention,” Blair explained.

In Illinois, around 6,000 work zone crashes resulted in 1,600 injuries. Last year, there were 24 fatal crashes in the state.

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“Work zone safety is everybody’s responsibility,” Cumby said. “These common-sense rules are meant to save your life, not just those of the workers.”

In Missouri, that fatal number was even higher.

“It’s a sad fact that in 2023, 35 people were killed in work zone crashes in Missouri alone,” Brandon Anderson with Associated General Contractors said.

At Tuesday’s briefing on the Mercy Hospital Campus overlooking Interstate 270, Kelby Herbel spoke from the heart. Her grandfather, Lyndon Ebker, was a MoDOT worker killed in 2016 while working on Highway 100.

“Due to the lack of attention from a driver, my grandfather was struck,” she said. “Even now, after this horrible accident and many others, drivers are still unobservant on the road.”

MoDOT and IDOT officials urge drivers to pay attention to work zones and avoid any type of distraction.