TDOT Reminds Motorists: In Work Zones - Expect the Unexpected

Monday, March 23, 2015 | 05:11am

National Work Zone Awareness Week March 23-27

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Department of Transportation is joining states across the nation to remind motorists to expect the unexpected in highway work zones. TDOT will spread that message statewide during National Work Zone Awareness Week (March 23-27) in an effort to improve safety in Tennessee’s interstate and highway construction and maintenance work zones.

“Work zones include everything from your major interstate widening projects to pothole patching and mowing, and conditions in those areas can change quickly,” said TDOT Commissioner John Schroer. “That’s why it’s so important for drivers to pay attention to signs, reduce their speeds, and move over when possible.”

The spring and summer months provide perfect weather for highway work, and motorists will encounter work zones across Tennessee in downtowns, along interstates and in rural areas. Last year in Tennessee, 17 people died in work zone crashes, with 14 of those being drivers or vehicle passengers.      

Work zone safety messages will be displayed on TDOT’s overhead Dynamic Message Signs on interstates in Memphis, Nashville, Chattanooga and Knoxville. There will also be special displays across the state to honor the 109 TDOT workers lost in the line of duty since 1948. The locations are as follows:

  • I-640 near mile marker 8, Knoxville
  • I-24/I-75 split, Chattanooga
  • I-40/I-65 split, Nashville
  • 300 Benchmark Place, Jackson (TDOT Regional Office)

TDOT Commissioner John Schroer also shares an important message about work zone safety; the video can be seen here on TDOT’s YouTube page:

TDOT is also sharing the story of Timothy Chunn, a 17 year veteran of the department. On August 28th, 2014, he was mowing on the side of US 231 in Fayetteville, TN when a one ton truck slammed into his tractor. The impact ripped his seat off and sent him down a ten-foot embankment. He had 10 broken ribs, a punctured lung and was out of work for months. According to the incident report from the TN Highway Patrol, the work zone was properly marked with safety lights. The pick-up driver did receive several citations.  

Media are welcome to broadcast video and sound about Chunn’s incident.  Please courtesy TDOT.

Information about construction projects is listed on the TDOT SmartWay web application at As always, drivers are reminded to use all motorist information tools wisely and Know Before You Go! by checking travel conditions before leaving for their destinations.  Drivers should never tweet, text or talk on a cell phone while behind the wheel.


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