NYSDOT: Slow down in work zones, save a life

By Jillian Marshall

April 18, 2013 Updated Apr 18, 2013 at 6:16 PM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) New York State Department of Transportation and State Police tell drivers to slow down and pay attention in work zones.

That was the message at a NYSDOT and NYSP conference along I-81 Thursday afternoon.

National Work Zone Awareness Week is April 15 to19.

Eighteen people were killed and there were over 500 crashes in construction work zones in New York last year.

NYSDOT Commissioner Joan McDonald said drivers need to pay attention and slow down, to save the lives of her employees.

"This is our DOT construction employees, this is their office. They're out here everyday, as well as the contractors, and we want to make sure they go home safe every night," McDonald said.

The conference comes just days before major construction starts on Prospect Mountain at the I-88 and I-81 interchange.

Route 17 eastbound will be down to one lane starting on Monday.

"There's going to be a major traffic shift in the beginning of May and in order to for that to happen, all of this work has to take place," said Jack Williams, regional director for NYSDOT.

NYSDOT said to allow extra time on the highways this summer and to take alternate routes when possible.