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VDOT Goes “Orange”

With 21 fatalities in work zones across the state last year, the Virginia Department of Transportation is encouraging individuals and organizations to wear orange.

STEPHENS CITY, Va. - In honor of National Work Zone Awareness Week, the Virginia Department of Transportation is going "orange," the color commonly associated with road work signs, cones and the transportation authority.

"We’re reinforcing the emphasis that we put on work zone safety, and it's just a day that VDOT sets aside to let VDOT show its team spirit," said Clifton Balderson, the Edinburg Residency Administrator.

"The place where we work is where they drive,” said Bill Stover, Stephens City Maintenance Superintendent. “It's nearly impossible to maintain the road or repair the road without getting in the road."

National Work Zone Awareness Week, now in its 14th year, originally started at a single, small Virginia district, before become a nationwide campaign.

"Work zones are there to do two things. It's there to protect the workers in the work zone, and it's there to protect the traveling public," said Balderson.

VDOT makes their road crews wear hardhats and neon vests because safety is such a concern. In 2011, there were 11 work zone fatalities, 13 fatalities in 2012 and 21 fatalities in 2013.

"The statistics show that several people have been killed in work zones,” said Stover. “We all have families. We all want to go home at the end of the day."

Their best advice to drivers: slow down!

"If you see those orange signs, please just take a minute to pay attention to what's going on," said Stover.

VDOT held a vigil Wednesday night at the VDOT Worker's Memorial on Afton Mountain. The vigil honored employees who lost their lives in work zone crashes.

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