The government of Alberta has announced a few changes to construction zone regulations on the province’s roadways.
Contractors will now be required to cover speed reduction signs in a construction zone when no workers are on site, and if there are no safety concerns.
The government is also limiting the distance of highway lane closures to three kilometres. The change aims to ensure signs leading to a construction zone are consistent and create longer transition zones for motorists to slow down. The new rules, announced during a news conference in Edmonton on Jan. 15, are already in effect.
“One of the major complaints we hear every year is that reduced speed limits are enforced when it’s obvious no work is occurring at the construction site,” said Brain Mason, Alberta’s Minister of Transportation.
“These changes will make sure our construction workers are safe as they build our roadways, while also helping commuters spend less time in traffic and more time doing the things they love.”
Safety remains the highest priority for road construction projects, according to the provincial government.
Speed reductions will continue to be enforced when and where necessary to protect workers and the travelling public. Speed fines will continue to be doubled when highway workers are present. Mason said Transportation Ministry officials will increase enforcement of construction zone laws.
Construction zone requirements:
- More consistent use of road construction signage.
- Limiting the distance of lane closures in construction zones, in most cases to a maximum of 3 km.
- Speed zone reductions reflect potential safety hazards and range from 50 km/hr to 100km/hr, even when workers are not present.
- More gradual speed reductions through construction zones.
- Longer distances for speed transition zones in advance of construction zones.
- More frequent use of electronic speed displays and rumble strips to slow traffic at the actual construction site.
Contractors in Alberta are eligible for safety bonuses of $500 to $5,000 for a well-managed site. However, failure to follow work zone rules could translate into a $25,000 fine for a site with multiple infractions.