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Energy news from Omaha Public Power District


Caution should be a top concern around road construction

July 6, 2020 | Laura King-Homan | safety, tips
Road work. Orange traffic cones in the middle of the street.

Summer in the Midwest means two things: an increase in road construction and drivers criss-crossing the highways on vacation.

It should also mean an increased awareness about roadside safety. When driving around construction, be mindful of first responders at work, or even utility crews working near roadways.

Rules of the road

  • Warmer weather means different types of people are using the roadways, including motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians. Leave more distance between your car and a motorcycle and always signal a lane change, merge into traffic or turn. This allows these users to anticipate your next move and find a safe position.
  • Avoid risky driving behaviors such as distracted driving or driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs.
  • When approaching a construction zone, be mindful of reduced speed limits or lane changes and limitations.
  • Also be mindful of workers near roads and around equipment.

OPPD precautions

Crews follow guidelines for traffic control outlined by the Manual for Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), published by the federal highway administration. OPPD field employees receive training on how to read the manual and carry flip charts specifically for utilities that include diagrams and set-up instructions.

If an OPPD crew works on a long-term project near a roadway, they use more permanent signage provided by a contractor. Along state highways, the Nebraska Department of Transportation will install attenuators, which provide an extra layer of protection between motorists and workers.

One noticeable addition to OPPD trucks are blue warning lights, similar to those on first-responder vehicles. These lights were added several years ago to increase visibility for OPPD vehicles.

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About Laura King-Homan

Laura King-Homan is the supervisor, Brand and Communication Operations, at Omaha Public Power District. She has nearly 20 years of print journalism and design experience, including the Omaha World-Herald.

View all posts by Laura King-Homan >

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