Clare Welcome Center hosts National Work Zone Memorial to honor those killed in work zone crashes

For the third year in a row, the Michigan Department of Transportation’s (MDOT) Clare Welcome Center will host the National Work Zone Memorial over the Fourth of July holiday weekend. This special memorial honors the lives of more than 1,600 road workers, motorists, pedestrians, law enforcement officers, public safety officials, and children who have been killed in work zone crashes throughout the United States.

Nearly 2.6 million Michiganders are expected to travel during the Fourth of July week, continuing a busy summer travel season. As motorists hit the road for summer fun, they may notice an increase in road work and orange barrels. After years of underinvestment, Michigan roads and bridges are seeing long-awaited and necessary improvements. With the “summer of the orange barrel” underway, MDOT is asking drivers to be patient, slow down and drive safely, especially when approaching work zones.

Work zone safety remains a top priority for MDOT, not only for workers but also for the road users who travel through work zones. Preliminary numbers indicate that in 2023, Michigan work zones had 20 fatalities, 1,896 injuries, and nearly 7,237 total crashes. Nationwide, the number of work zone fatalities is estimated at more than 890.

Unveiled in 2002 by the American Traffic Safety Services (ATSS) Foundation, the National Work Zone Memorial is a living tribute to the memory of the lives lost in work zones. As the memorial travels throughout the United States, it raises awareness for work zone safety and safe driving practices by displaying the names of those killed in work zone crashes. The memorial is 20 feet wide and stands 7 feet tall and is available to anyone interested in increasing work zone safety awareness. A new virtual memorial is also available to use at no cost.

Costs for hosting the memorial June 27-July 7 at the Clare Welcome Center are sponsored by the American Traffic Safety Services Association Michigan Chapter.