Work Zone Mobility and Safety Program
Photo collage: temporary lane closure, road marking installation, cone with mounted warning light, and drum separated work zones.
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Best Practice


G2−1: Incident Management in Work Zones


This practice consists of providing services to respond to incidents in work zones, keeping the area free of disabled vehicles. Incidents are identified through various sources, including traffic patrols, maintenance patrols, State Police, CB radios, cell phones, and traffic flow irregularities identified at a Traffic Management Center.

Services can include the following: general assistance, towing and towing arrangements, emergency fuel, tire changing, placement of cones and flares, and updated motorist information systems such as advisory signs and local media contacts. Some States employ an on−site traffic control supervisor for large projects who can quickly identify and respond to incidents. The contractor may be required to establish emergency detour routes for use in the event that an incident in the work zone closes the roadway.

Pennsylvania requires an Incident Management Plan for long−term construction projects; freeway projects normally require a preconstruction meeting with emergency responders.
Mississippi includes provisions in contracts requiring contractors to provide incident management.
Illinois identifies incidents in work zones through multiple methods and deploys Minutemen vehicles to assist stranded motorists by getting them moving or removing the vehicles from the roadway.
Iowa contracts services to provide 24−hour−per−day monitoring of traffic control devices and incident response.
Oregon employees a full−time traffic control supervisor whose duties include patrolling the project at least once every 4 hours to maintain work zone traffic control devices and to be on call 24 hours−per− a day.


Traffic incidents, even those located off of the travel lanes, can have a significant negative impact on traffic flow in a work zone. Rapid response to incidents is essential to minimize their impact on traffic safety and mobility. During peak traffic volume periods, incident response delays of minutes can impact congestion for hours. Contractors can be a key part of a maintaining traffic flow, and are becoming more willing to be responsible for improving traffic control and emergency vehicle access, as part of a successful Incident Management team.


Benefits include reducing delay, enhancing safety, improving public image, and encouraging contractor responsiveness to address incidents in work zones.


All freeways. All types of work.


California , Illinois, Iowa, Mississippi, Oregon, Pennsylvania


Laurie Jurgens, Traffic Operations Caltrans
Phone: (209) 736−1609

Thomas Korty, Manager, Policy & Safety Unit
Illinois DOT
Phone: (217) 782−2984

Dean Mentjes
FHWA Illinois Division Office
Phone: (217) 492−1587

Mark Bortle
Iowa DOT
Phone: (515) 239−1587

Brad Lewis, Assistant State Construction Engineer
Mississippi DOT
Phone: (601) 359−7323

Jeff Graham
FHWA Oregon Division Office
Phone: (503) 587−4727

Mike Castellano
FHWA Pennsylvania Division Office
Phone: (717) 221−4517

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