The front page of this morning's New York Times takes a long, hard look at how unsafe highway work zones are, especially those involving pavement-edge drop-offs (which, according to one 2006 study, pose "a potential safety hazard because significant vertical differences between surfaces can affect vehicle stability and reduce a driver's ability to handle the vehicle"). The problem, says the piece, isn't just the danger the work zones present, but the fact they aren't regulated, and contractors, who too often shrug off inspectors' complaints, often don't have the proper equipment to fix the problem in the first place.
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Several North Texas locations are mentioned in the piece: a five-mile stretch of Interstate 35 in Tarrant County that was being repaved in '98, during which six people died in a span of three months; Interstate 20 in Dallas, where, in 2002, Kyong Leingang and her family were killed in a crash at a construction site; and Highway 51, a farm-to-market road outside of Fort Worth where Bryan Lee, an oil field worker, was run over after a crash. Writes Mike McIntire, "Behind this human toll is a litany of mundane hazards: concrete barriers in the wrong position, obsolete lane markings left in place, warning signs never deployed."