Work Zone Awareness Week

National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW) is an annual spring campaign, held at the start of construction season to encourage safe driving through highway work zones across the country. The key message is for drivers to use extra caution in work zones.

The national observance is coordinated through Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), and American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA), in partnership with state Departments of Transportation.

Each year, NWZAW has a new theme and kickoff event in a host state. In addition to the national event, each state hosts their own events.


National Work Zone Awareness Week 2023 is April 17-21 with the theme "You play a role in work zone safety. Work with us!"

Go Orange Day 2023 is Wednesday, April 19. All roadway safety professionals across the country are encouraged to wear orange to proudly show their support of work zone safety.


TDOT will observe NWZAW 2023* with several regional events including Go Orange Day.

Pictures and videos of state events will be posted to TDOT social media channels.

Regional Barrel Display

TDOT is divided into four regions (Knoxville, Chattanooga, Nashville, and Jackson) covering east, middle, and west Tennessee. During NWZAW, each region sets up a barrel displays along a highly-traveled route, with each barrel representing a TDOT worker killed in the line of duty. In 2023, there are 113 barrels in each display. See photo gallery from past years.

Creature Contest

In 2017, TDOT workers in Region 3 were encouraged to participate in a Creature Contest for NWZAW. In the years that followed, participation extended to regions and district offices statewide. Each participating office constructed a “creature” using materials that were either past their useful life or would be re-used. The contest was a team-building exercise that allowed workers to have an active role in NWZAW by helping raise awareness for work zone safety. (Pictured: 2017 Creature Contest entries)

*In 2017, TDOT unveiled a statewide initiative and asked motorists to "Work with Us." NWZAW 2021 events will be focused on this initiative, with limited use of the national theme. To learn more about the ongoing safety campaign, click on "Work with Us" on the menu to the left.