He was only 26-years old, and working with the Macomb County Department of Roads when he was struck and killed on the job while simply working to replace a manhole cover on I-94 near 9-Mile Road. That was on Monday, September 21st. Three days later, a 40-year old road worker from Gladwin was struck and killed while working on Sherwood Highway over I-69 in Eaton County on Thursday, September 24th.
Those are just two examples from the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) which says while there may be fewer drivers on the roads these days, the number of road and work zone fatalities are actually on the rise. Sadly, the increase in crashes and fatalities comes at a time when the department is reporting a 20-percent decrease in overall statewide traffic volumes due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
As of this month, 730 people have died on Michigan roads. That’s an increase of 58 deaths compared to this time last year. Most recently, vehicles struck three on-the-job road workers, killing two of them as was the case for 26-year old Zachery Morisette in Macomb County and 40-year old Jeremy Zeitz in Eaton County.
State Transportation Director Paul C. Ajegba says, “We are deeply saddened by these recent road worker fatalities. These workers had families and friends who loved and will miss them immensely,” and adds, “As we begin our Rebuilding Michigan bonding program aimed at catching up with years of our state’s under-investment in roads, you can expect a great deal of work on highways across the state. We implore you to slow down and drive through work zones as if it was your own workplace.”
MDOT understands that traveling through work zones can be frustrating. The department is working diligently to reduce the impacts that road work has on motorists while delivering smooth and safe roads. As a reminder, motorists should always slow down, follow all posted signs, be alert, and remain calm when driving through a work zone.
MDOT is dedicated to zero deaths on state roads and protecting all workers who build and maintain Michigan’s infrastructure.
You can learn more about work zone safety at this link: http://www.Michigan.gov/WorkZoneSafety