Heavy construction in Texoma puts workers at risk

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SHERMAN, Texas -- With construction projects seemingly around every corner in Texoma, workers find themselves at risk of distracted, speeding drivers.

In Grand Prairie, Texas just after midnight on Monday, a construction worker was killed in a hit and run accident.

And with so much construction in our local area, TxDOT officials and construction workers want to avoid a similar tragedy from happening.

So, before you reach for your phone or speed, they're asking you to think twice.

"Sometimes they hit the barrels," T.J. Baeza, foreman at the Loy Lake Bridge site said. "And sometimes when all the guys are next to the barrels and some of the barrels come down and hit us or we get hit by a car."

Baeza said his safety, and the safety of his fellow workers, is often put in jeopardy due to drivers.

"Pay attention where you're driving. Stay off the phones when you're in a work area. Same thing goes like school zones."

TxDOT spokesman Tim McAlavy said there's four things for drivers to remember in a work zone.

Number two: "Pay attention, there's going to be workers and heavy equipment coming and going in those zones," McAlavy said.

Number three: "Be patient. Those delays can be frustrating, but it does only take a few extra minute to slow down."

And the fourth is to plan ahead by leaving a few minutes early if you know you'll have to travel through construction zones.

Fortunately, McAlavy says, the Paris District -- which comprises of many Texoma counties -- has a good safety track record.

The last incident was in March 2010, when a worker was severely injured while working on a guard rail on FM 902 near Collinsville.

But drivers still need to stay vigilant -- both for the sake of worker safety, and for the sake of their wallet.

"The moving violations fines are doubled in a work zone. And that can go up as high as $400," McAlavy said.