Edmonton

Alberta motorists asked to slow down in work zones after workers run down

RCMP and a highway maintenance company are asking Alberta motorists to slow down when when driving through work zones after two workers were run down this week.

'You need to pay attention to signage and slow down'

Two road maintenance workers were hit by a vehicle on Highway 16 near Mannville, Alta., Wednesday morning. (Simon Rizzardo/Emcon)

RCMP and a highway maintenance company are asking Alberta motorists to slow down when when driving through work zones after two workers were run down this week.

"I just want drivers to notice that we're on the highway," said Frank Rizzardo, CEO of the maintenance firm Emcon. "They're out there trying to make the roads safer for the travelers and they can't do that when they put their own security at risk."

The workers were fixing potholes on Highway 16 west of Mannville Wednesday morning, when a car driven by a 25-year-old man plowed into them.

"One of the workers that had both legs broken had one of his legs pinned and there's a rod now down the tibia," Rizzardo said Friday. "I believe it's today, the operation on the second leg.

"The second fellow is under surgery as we speak. He had a broken leg and the problem with his leg is it's in the ankle and foot so it's going to be a much longer recovery because it's an articulating joint."

The two men were working in the eastbound lane when they were hit by the eastbound vehicle, said RCMP Const. Chantelle Kelly.

A 58-year-old worker was airlifted to hospital in Edmonton and a 50-year-old worker was taken by ambulance to the Vermilion Health Centre, before being transferred to Edmonton for further care.

A third employee who was able to jump out of the way is receiving counselling support, Rizzardo said.

"You can imagine the stress that imposes on people when you see co-workers struck," he said. 

As of Friday morning no charges had been laid against the driver of the vehicle, but the RCMP say they're still investigating.

In a Facebook post, Emcon CEO Frank Rizzardo asks drivers to respect maintenance workers who are trying to make Alberta highways more safe. ( Frank Rizzardo/Facebook)

"Typically you would notice the signage and then you have to slow down for appropriate speeds when passing," Kelly said. "From my understanding that did not happen in this situation.

"You're going to see construction, even in winter," Kelly said. "You need to pay attention to signage and slow down to the appropriate road signs and speed."

In a Facebook post Rizzardo asked motorists to respect maintenance operators.

All the proper signage was in place as required by Alberta Transportation, Rizzardo said, but the company is looking at how to improve safety.

"We're going to review whether we're going to accept the control work that is under the guidelines today and whether we'll change something in order to make it safer for our guys."

A spokesperson with Alberta Occupational Health and Safety confirms an investigation into the incident is underway and no further details can be shared at this time.

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