What Does a Construction Speed Zone Cost?

Road ConstructionWhat construction zone? I didn't see any signs back there! This irate motorist was very definite expressing what she thought about the traffic ticket I was issuing her for speeding in a construction zone. I suggested that once we were done I would be happy to help her make a U-turn so that she could go back and check on the signs.

I knew that there was more than one large orange warning sign with flapping red flags in addition to the temporary speed limit sign leading to where I had stopped her. She accepted my offer and that was the last time I saw her. No doubt she saw them the second time past and decided not to dispute the ticket.

Welcome to the Cone Zone. This is a segment of highway where construction is taking place and hazards exist. It may be as obvious as people and machines on the roadway or more subtle such as uneven pavement, absence of reflective delineators or safety barriers that have been removed. The need for speed reduction may be valid even outside of working hours. It is not up to drivers to decide, when the signs are posted, you must obey.

If you miss something like the driver I issued the ticket to did, travelling at reduced speed will reduce the impact of a mistake.

Like you, when I want to get to my destination I don't like to have to slow down either. I was thinking of this while monitoring traffic in a construction zone one afternoon and decided to find out just how much it would cost me to slow down here. I measured the length of the zone and got out my calculator. The difference between driving through the zone at the speed limit and at the 50 km/h reduced speed was 74 seconds.

How important was 74 seconds? I considered all the emergency calls that I had responded to and I could not come up with an instance where I thought that 74 seconds made a difference. The only situations that I thought seconds could be critical for would most likely involve ambulances and fire apparatus.

Nothing in my personal life would justify putting people in the construction zone at risk by my failure to slow down. To do otherwise can only be described as selfish.

The risk is very real. Between 2005 and 2015 223 workers suffered a lost time injury and 15 workers were killed in Cone Zone collisions according to the Work Zone Safety Alliance. ICBC does not report collision statistics for construction zones specifically, but I don't doubt that there are collisions that don't involve workers or road building vehicles.

Construction season will soon be underway and we'll be called on to navigate the Cone Zone safely. It's simple really; slow down, keep your eyes and ears on the road and show respect for roadside workers. Remember that the flag person's directions must be followed, they are not a suggestion.

One last thought, plan ahead to minimize or avoid having your trip disrupted. The latest information regarding construction and other delays is available on the DriveBC web site.

I agree that motorists should obey speed limits in construction zones.  Roads are dangerous enough when we are on the road belted in to a several ton metal vehicle, little lone working on the roadway.

However, how many times have we come upon a construction speed sign that has been inadvertently left up when the crew has gone home.  In cases where the zone is short, it's pretty obvious when a crew has left for the day and a sign is still present, but some of the extended zones, in areas like the Coquihalla.  After travelling several kms you realize you will never arrive at any active construction or the "Resume Speed" sign.

Such errors reduce the credibility of the construction zones.  When a construction zone is lengthy and being conducted in the evening or weekend, we could have a case were a motorist, having experienced the phantom sign situation, ignores an actual construction zone that is lengthy, erroneously thinking "someone must have forgotten a sign because I should have come across some active roadwork by now".

I know roadwork progresses along a highway for at times a distance (thinking of re-paving) but perhaps some regulation that  signs must be a certain distance from the active work at all times.

People authorized to "flag" (direct traffic at construction zones) do have to qualify, however because of the responsibility of the job, there also should be some checks and balances for their actions (or lack thereof)

I am reminded of a morning driving North bound on Hwy 97 adjacent to Goreman's Mill just South of West Kelowna.  Myself and the vehicle in front of me arrived at a construction zone, and I recall thinking to myself, "gee, this is unusual, the car in front of me is actually doing the posted construction speed".  As we get up to the machinery that was doing whatever (we had been moved to the left to travel on the wrong side of the roadway, with oncoming Southbound traffic moved to the right of their two lanes with traffic cones.

As the car in front of me arrived closer to a female flag person, all of a sudden she jumped slightly into the path of the car ahead of me and swung her sign (displaying "Slow) at the vehicle ahead of me.  By her facial expression and actions I'm sure she had formed the opinion (completely wrong) that the vehicle and myself were exceeding the posted construction limit.  The vehicle in front of me swerved to the left and would have collided with a South bound vehicle, had there been one there.

The person paid to be present to insure safety was the one causing a dangerous situation.


... than when some Flag Person holding one of those Stop/Slow signs in an unclear fashion is standing close to the roadway with their back to traffic, taking interest only in the construction crew and what they're doing instead of the motorists they're supposed to be in charge of.  Time for re-training, methinks.

And I'm with you on the 'forgotten' signs; there's been an ongoing piece of construction on a major arterial near where I live (William Griffin Recreation Centre on West Queens Road in North Vancouver) for more than a year now.

I've lost track of the number of times they've left the 30 km/h signs up at each end of a 300 metre section, on a wide open straight piece of roadway - and meanwhile, all the workers and equipment have gone home.  It's irresponsible, and ultimately creating more risk as drivers become accustomed to ignoring these stupid signs when it's obvious they're not necessary.

Would be informative to find out if there's a penalty for this, and if so which authorities should be contacted to get it enforced.

Removal of temporary sign

142 A person must not leave temporary traffic control devices in place on a highway after the reason for them being there no longer exists.

I'd venture a guess that the next time you write a flag person for leaving a sign up will be your first.  Just tracking the person down.  Did the person who erected the sign go home before the job was completed, turning the responsibility to another, etc etc.

I also see evidentiary problems with all aspects of construction signs. 

I'm sure there are very responsible flag people who take their jobs very seriously.  But we've all seen the completely disinterested, boob with a cigarette hanging out of their mouth, paying little to no attention to traffic.

I remembering watching a flag person who got the sequence of their signing out of sync. 

Stopped traffic with their hand up stepping in front of vehicles, while displaying "slow", then changing the sign to "stop" and standing out of the way and waving the traffic through.

Well, I've scanned the list of Tickets 2014 provided by ICBC, and presented elsewhere on this site, and it appears that there are no police officers ticketing for this offence in this Province.

So I guess we can only expect this annoying and unnecessary situation to continue.  No penalties, no interest on the part of the authorities. Roll on summer ...