California Department of Transportation
 

California Department of Transportation

Headquarters - Public Affairs Office
Tamie McGowen
(916) 657-5060

April 8, 2008

CALTRANS HOSTS NATIONAL MEMORIAL CEREMONY AND WORK ZONE SAFETY AWARENESS KICK-OFF

Honors 170 Caltrans employees and others who have died in the line of duty

Sacramento - The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will observe its Annual Workers Memorial in conjunction with the National Work Zone Awareness Week kick-off at 11 a.m., April 8, 2008, on the west steps of the State Capitol.

The ceremony, themed after Caltrans’ “Slow for the Cone Zone” slogan and highway safety public awareness campaign, will honor the 170 Caltrans employees who have died in the line of duty since 1924, as well as all roadway work zone deaths nationwide. This year the Sacramento memorial will mark the first time in history that the national kick-off event is held anywhere outside the metropolitan Washington D.C. area. The Caltrans slogan is being adopted across the United States as this year’s national campaign. Since careless drivers cause most Caltrans worker deaths, the goal is to get motorists to slow down when driving in a “Cone Zone.”

“Today we honor the great sacrifices that highway workers made and recognize the tremendous loss that their family and friends suffered,” said Caltrans Director Will Kempton. “Everyday they put their lives in danger just by going to work. In a dual effort to keep both workers and drivers safe, we are honored to host the National Work Zone Awareness Week Kick-off to stress highway safety and emphasize the dire consequences of not slowing for cone zones across the United States.”

The ceremony will feature a temporary memorial of 170 orange safety cones arranged into a 45-foot wide caution sign to signify the ultimate sacrifice made by each fallen Caltrans worker. It will also include a ceremonial a dove release, bagpiper and vehicle wreckage from which an employee narrowly escaped, and a 12-foot by 16-foot LED screen to enhance viewing capabilities of the ceremony and to display photos of fallen workers across the nation. The Caltrans Honor Guard will perform a special tribute for the workers lost nationwide and will dedicate a wreath to those killed in 2007.

Djuan Bush of San Leandro, John Knabenbauer of Fontana and Matthew White of Sacramento were killed within three months of each other last year. A bouquet of three roses will be placed at the base of the Caltrans Workers’ Memorial plaque located in Capitol Park in honor of these employees.

Top leaders in transportation from state and federal government, and the industry will be in attendance. On display will be the 23-foot-long National Work Zone Memorial, sponsored by the American Traffic Safety Services Association. Other national sponsors include the Federal Highway Administration, the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials, the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, the Associated General Contractors of America and the Virginia, Maryland and District of Columbia departments of transportation.

The ceremony can be viewed live on the Caltrans main webpage at http://www.dot.ca.gov/.