SASKATOON, SASK. — The City of Saskatoon has ticketed a semi-truck driver who nearly hit a roadworker and damaged a specialized pothole patching machine.
“Fortunately, no one was injured. However, one person was in the work zone at the time and three others were on their way from another site – each of them with families to get home to,” said Brandon Harris, director of roadways and operations, in a press release. “With advance warning signs and plenty of pylons, there is absolutely no reason for any vehicle to be in that work zone and put lives at risk.”
The man was ticketed under the Traffic Safety Act for driving without due care and attention.
The incident happened July 15 at Circle Drive and Avenue C.
According to the city, the semi-truck and trailer knocked over two metal construction signs, ran over several pylons and dragged the city’s new infrared pothole patching machine – which was loaded with propane tanks – for six metres.
A worker, who was nearly hit, attempted to warn the truck driver.
Drivers are required to slow to 60 km/h or the posted speed limit when they enter a work zone and follow the directions of all signs in the area.
“My message for drivers is unless you are part of that crew in that moment, you must not touch the pylons, signs or any other barriers,” said Harris. “These are in place to protect the people who are at work.”
The crew was on its fourth day of a pilot project to test the new infrared patching technology and its effectiveness on restoring sections of damaged asphalt before they deteriorate into potholes.
The cost of fixing the unique, experimental patch machine is unknown as repairs and troubleshooting are ongoing.
“Even in light of our highly visible ‘At What Cost?’ public awareness campaign, some people continue to disobey work zone road signs, put lives at risk and in some cases cause work to shut down,” said Harris.
He noted it is the second ticket this month the city has given for work zone violations reported by city workers. Multiple reports of other work zone violations are still under investigation by Saskatoon Police Service.
Crews who witness a driver inside their work zone are encouraged to record license plate information and provide a driver description to police.
“People squeeze their vehicles between barricades all the time, thinking they are above the law,” said Harris. “It’s dangerous for our workers, puts the equipment at risk of damage and can be harmful for the driver.”