GREENWICH TWP., Pa. - Though the risks are obvious, H&K Group highway project engineer Brandon Schulze knows a threat is always looming.
"I have a job to do and I have a family to go home to," said Schulze.
For workers at the H&K Group -and countless other contractors- life on the highways like I-78 is a life with your head on a swivel.
"Our work in itself is dangerous, but then you have the added danger of the motoring public passing by," said Schulze.
PennDOT is recognizing National Work Zone Awareness Week ahead of a busy construction season. With warmer weather comes more travelers and more reasons for workers to keep their heads swiveling.
"According to PennDOT data, in 2020, there were 1,412 work zone crashes resulting in 15 fatalities," said Tara DeStefano with the PA Highway Safety Network.
Highway workers say while there was a slight drop off in traffic at the beginning of the pandemic, it really didn't last long. They say the danger is just as present now as it was before. "Roads like this, they don't ever stop, they don't sleep," sadi Schulze.
Last March, PennDOT implemented automated work zone speed enforcement, which officials say led to a 19% decrease in work zone crashes last year. It's one tool that PennDOT and State Police use to keep workers like Schulze safe.
"I think Pennsylvania's program is strongly geared towards safety," said Schulze.
"It's a huge undertaking for us to do," said PA State Trooper David Beohm, "but we do what we do and that's why we do it, to make this highway safer."