Honoring CDOT’s fallen employees on Remembrance Day

News Release

April 18, 2023 - Central Colorado/Denver Metro - CDOT honors the 62 employees who have died in the line of duty since 1929

Denver – The Colorado Department of Transportation held its annual observance of Remembrance Day today, honoring the 62 employees who have died in the line of duty since 1929. Joining CDOT were representatives from the Colorado State Patrol, Federal Highway Administration and Colorado Contractors Association.

“As the weather warms and road construction begins ramping up, we take this opportunity each year to remember our fallen colleagues and remind those traveling on Colorado’s roadways that it’s imperative to make safety your first priority, not just when you’re going through a work zone but whenever you’re driving,” said CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew. “The men and women working in cone zones deserve to remain safe as they construct and maintain our roads for the traveling public.”

Remembrance Day is held in conjunction with National Work Zone Awareness Week. This year’s theme: "You play a role in work zone safety. Work with us.”

"It's extremely troubling when troopers see motorists failing to appreciate the vulnerability of our roadside workers. Work zones are clearly marked in advance for very good reasons, they are dangerous and potentially deadly," stated Col. Matthew C. Packard, chief of the Colorado State Patrol. "As a driver, you need to be prepared for anything when driving through work zones. Put the distractions away and respect the speed limit. We're counting on you to drive with care."

In 2022, there were 10 crashes, resulting in 10 fatalities in Colorado construction and maintenance work zones.

“Each day, road construction workers get up early to head out for a long day’s work. All of them are someone’s son or daughter, mom or dad, sister or brother. They work hard to provide for their loved ones and to build a better Colorado for all who live here,” said Colorado Contractors Association President and CEO Tony Milo. “By slowing down in cone zones, paying attention and obeying the signs, motorists can help ensure that all of these workers get home safely at the end of the day. Speeding and distracted driving causes too many tragic accidents. Every one of these accidents are avoidable and it takes each one of us to make safety a priority in the cone zones.”

Nationally, 857 people were killed in 774 work zone crashes in 2020 (most recent data available). While highway workers are at great risk every day, it is just as critical for motorists to be safe and responsible in work zones. In fact, four out of five work zone fatalities are people driving through work zones, not highway workers.

“Keeping work zones safe is critical for all of us,” said FHWA’s Colorado Division Administrator John Cater. “When driving through work zones, we all have to slow down and pay attention to keep the workers safe and for our own safety as well.”

CDOT averages between 175 and 200 projects on its roadways each year, not including maintenance projects. When driving through a work zone, fines for most infractions are doubled. To help keep Colorado’s work zones safe, drivers are advised to follow these tips and to remember to slow for the cone zone:

  • Do not speed in work zones. Obey the posted speed limits.
  • Stay Alert! Expect the unexpected.
  • Watch for workers. Drive with caution.
  • Don't change lanes unnecessarily.
  • Avoid using mobile devices such as phones while driving in work zones.
  • Turn on headlights so that workers and other drivers can see you.
  • Be especially alert at night while driving in work zones.
  • Expect delays, especially during peak travel times.
  • Allow ample space between you and the car in front of you.
  • Anticipate lane shifts and merge when directed to do so.
  • Be patient!
CDOT Memorial Rock with names of fallen colleagues engraved in the stone
CDOT pays tribute to the 62 employees lost in the line of duty by having the names of their fallen colleagues etched onto the marble memorial outside its Denver headquarters.