‘Work Zone Safety Week’ honors Burkhalter

The Brillion News

To help prevent traffic crashes in road construction and maintenance work zones that injure and kill motorists and workers, Governor Scott Walker has proclaimed April 11 to 15 as Work Zone Awareness Week in Wisconsin.

Last year in Wisconsin, tragic crashes killed three highway workers, one of them a rural Hilbert man. Derrick Burkhalter, 50, of Hilbert died on May 4, 2015, from injuries suffered in a crash on U.S. 10/State 114 in Calumet County.

He was driving a sweeper truck following two graders that were repairing a gravel shoulder in a marked work zone.

His sweeper truck was struck in the rear by a vehicle, which also was traveling along the shoulder. The vehicle went under the rear of the sweeper, lifted it off the ground, and traveled about 100 feet before the sweeper turned on its side.

The other men killed in work zone incidents were employed by Shawano and Lincoln counties.

“The tragic deaths of Derrick Burkhalter, Derek Stempa and Marcus Wydeven are a profound reminder that we all need to slow down, be patient and pay attention when driving through work zones,” said Mark Gottlieb, state Department of Transportation Secretary. “The workers who are doing their jobs close to traffic want to go home to their loved ones just like you do.”

To help make work zones safer, the DOT will use temporary portable rumble strips on a dozen state highway improvement projects this construction season.

The rumble strips provide an auditory and vibratory warning to drivers to slow down when entering a work zone.

A complete report on the use of portable rumble strips will be featured in the April 21 print edition of The Brillion News.

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