Editor's note: Video taken Monday by NCDOT of the National Work Zone Memorial may be viewed and downloaded. In addition, a video of today's virtual event has been added to NCDOT's YouTube channel.
NORTHAMPTON COUNTY – The National Work Zone Memorial, which honors people killed in highway work zones, is on public display this week in North Carolina.
The memorial has been set up at the Interstate 95 Welcome Center at Mile Marker 181, or just a mile from the Virginia border. The 36 North Carolina workers memorialized on the traveling exhibit were killed in work zones between 1979 and 2019.
The memorial will be on display inside the Welcome Center through Thursday. The foundation for the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA) provides the memorial to promote roadway safety awareness.
Eric Boyette, the secretary of the N.C. Department of Transportation, spoke this morning during a virtual event to highlight the visiting memorial and also recognize North Carolina Work Zone Awareness Week, which is April 13-15.
“Those working on our roadways are often in harm's way," Boyette said. “It's up to all of us to make sure these men and woman make it home each night."
The memorial, which has a light-weight design with framing over 6 feet tall, currently honors 1,592 names from people killed across the United States. It travels to help raise public awareness of the dangers in work zones, emphasizing the importance of being careful in work zones to help avoid crashes, injuries and deaths.
The highway construction season is underway in North Carolina, which maintains about 80,000 miles of roadway – second most in the nation.
Mark Ezzell, director of the N.C. Governor's Highway Safety Program, said that on any given day, there are about 400 active work zones across North Carolina.
“Our message is to remind the motoring public to slow down and pay attention when approaching work zones, and never drive distracted," Ezzell said during the virtual event.
Also participating in the virtual event were David Krahulec, chairman of the ATSSA Foundation; Victor Barbour, Government Relations & Highway-Heavy Division Director for the Carolinas Associated General Contractors; and N.C. State Highway Patrol Maj. Daryl Conley.