FOX47 NEWS - Beltline Construction Underway

Jeff Angileri
Jul 20, 2009, 10:20 PM

Smooth sailing on the beltline comes to a halt, as a month-long construction project gets underway.

Safety is a big priority. With the dangers associated with construction, and one worker killed last month, Dane County is not taking any changes.

If you are not careful, you could pay a price.

The beltline is about to get more congested -- at least during the hours of 7pm and 6am.

"There will be sign boards, light plants, flashing lights," said Gerald Mandli, Dane County Highway Department director. "In these zones, the speed limit will drop somewhat."

Construction on the beltline will stretch from Middleton to the interstate -- mostly pavement repairs and patches.

The highway department says it is giving commuters a break by doing most of the work at night, when traffic volume is low. They hope drivers will return the favor.

"These guys are doing a very tough job," Mandli said. "They're going to be doing it at night when people are not used to seeing construction on the beltline. So we really want people to be careful. Slow down, give them a break, and let them do their job."

Even the most routine maintenance can be dangerous for highway workers. The Dane County Sheriff's Department is stepping up enforcement.

"Speeding definitely is going to be one of the biggest issues they'll be watching for," said Elise Schaffer, public information officer. "Make sure you're driving at the posted speed limit. Make sure people are moving over whenever possible."

Wisconsin's move-over law requires highway drivers to move out of the lane where work or even emergency responders are present.

A violation could be costly.

"When you are cited in a construction zone those citations double," Schaffer said.

Fines and penalties can vary -- $249 for a move-over violation -- and drivers could face prison time if they hurt or kill someone.

The beltline construction will happen in phases. Monday night's project runs from Greenway Boulevard to Old Sauk Road.

The entire project should be finished in about a month.

The sheriff's department is still investigating the incident last month, where a highway worker was hit and killed on Highway 151.

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