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Iowa DOT using warning sirens to protect road crews

IDOT warning sirens.JPG
Posted at 3:21 PM, Jul 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-10 17:06:07-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Iowa Department of Transportation crews are now using a visible and audible warning system to enhance driver awareness of road work.

The agency made its own system, which flashes six yellow lights and blares a siren.

The last vehicle in a chain carries the equipment that warns drivers of road work underway and provides a buffer, protecting workers from traffic and potential crashes.

"We've not had any crashes in the two and a half years we've been using them, " Bob Younie, IDOT Director of Maintenance Bureau.

More than half of U.S. highway contractors report work zone crashes, according to equipment world.

One unit costs around $8,000 to make. IDOT's fleet is currently using 15-20 of them.

Younie says the lights and siren are manually triggered. The agency is looking at ways to develop an automated version of the system in the future.