Since 1960, 34 Minnesota Department of Transportation construction workers and 15 private contractors have been killed while working on Minnesota highways. Today, agencies statewide will take a moment to remember those who have died on the job during ceremonies to mark Worker Memorial Day.
At various events around the state, officials will pause for 10 seconds of silence to remember those workers. Events will take place in Rochester, Mankato, Chaska and Brooklyn Park.
"These tragic deaths are terrible reminders of the dangers men and women face every day while they keep Minnesota's roads safe for all of us," said Gov. Mark Dayton. "Today, we mourn their loss, honor their courage and recognize the sacrifices of their loved ones."
The Interstate 35W bridge over the Mississippi River will be lit in orange all day and evening to show appreciation for workers who rebuild our roads and encourage motorists to be extra vigilant when driving through work zone this summer.
"The ceremonies come at a time when crews are beginning work on several road projects around the state," said state transportation commissioner Charlie Zelle. "MnDOT will be working on more than 300 state highway construction projects throughout Minnesota this year. That equates to a lot of orange barrels."
MnDOT urges motorists to follow these recommendations while traveling through work zones:
• Stay alert
• Watch for signs, equipment and workers
• Minimize distractions, such as using cell phones, eating or drinking
• Avoid tailgating
• Follow posted speed limits and directional signs
• Stay in one lane while driving through a work zone