Sign campaign cuts construction zone speed

With speeds and hazards to workers creeping up, a campaign appealing to drivers' soft sides aims to get them to slow down and pay attention.

On any given day, 20 construction workers on the Bowen Road widening project have 16,000 vehicles pass bywith nothing more than flag people and traffic cones separating them.

With speeds and hazards to workers creeping up, a campaign appealing to drivers’ soft sides aims to get them to slow down and pay attention.

Nanaimo’s Slow Down campaign uses several large signs featuring nearly life-size photographs of the construction workers with their sons, daughters, nieces and nephews along the 800-metre stretch of road.

The campaign, sponsored by Hazelwood Construction Services, the city and WorkSafeBC, was launched Thursday and is the first of its kind in Nanaimo. Similar Slow Down campaign signs were used at major projects across the Lower Mainland and B.C. Interior since a pilot project in 2007.

The campaign is unique in that instead of models, the photographs on the signs depict actual construction workers, including traffic controllers, engineers, carpenters, machine operators, welders utility workers with family members.

The signs are created specifically for each job, so motorists might actually see the workers pictured when they drive through the job sites.

Sami Macdonald, a traffic controller with All Power Flagging, hopes the campaign will get drivers to exercise extra caution, especially with the onset of cold weather.

“What we’re seeing the last few days is people who haven’t defrosted their windshields,” Macdonald said. “They can’t see and don’t realize that we might have changed around the route through the site overnight and that they have to follow new directions.”

The Bowen Road widening project started in February and will finish in the fall of 2012.

To learn more about the Slow Down campaign, please visit the campaign website at www.slowdownbc.com.