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Portland Water Bureau

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Slow Down for Work Zone Safety

By Lindsay Wochnick

With dry summer weather just ahead, motorists in Portland will likely see more construction work that impacts city streets. A lot of this work is to upgrade water mains and sewer pipes and repair road pavement. With this necessary work comes an increase in traffic delays. 

National studies indicate that driver distraction is the biggest factor in work zone collisions along with excessive vehicle speed.  And 40 percent of work zone collisions occur in the transition area just prior to the work zone.


The Portland Water Bureau asks motorists and bicyclists to keep in mind the following safety tips when observing bright orange signs, cones, barricades, utility workers, and traffic flaggers: 

  • Use an alternate route. When you can, avoid streets with posted work zones.
  • Expect delays.  Plan to leave early so you can drive safely through the work zone and avoid having to rush.
  • Be alert. Pay attention to the driving task and watch the cars ahead of you.
  • Obey all speed and warning signs. They are there for your safety and will help prevent a collision.  
  • Do not tailgate.  Double the following distance.
  • Carefully move over.  When possible give workers more room between them and your vehicle, but do not veer into on-coming traffic lane.
  • Watch for vehicle access. Be aware that temporary construction may impact either side of the road, or adjacent streets.
  • Stay clear of construction vehicles.  Heavy vehicles travel in and out of the work areas and can make sudden moves. 

Please help keep you, other drivers, and utility workers protected by slowing down for work zone safety.

Lindsay Wochnick
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