MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Surprising dangers are flying past Twin Cities construction workers at a time many least expect it.
Police in Long Lake say they stopped a driver in a construction zone with a BAC of 0.22 shortly after 10 a.m. Thursday. Last week, they pulled over another driver in the same area with a BAC of 0.27 around 9:30 a.m. The incidents happened along US 12, also known as Wayzata Boulevard, where the road is being widened.
When your office is a construction site, danger is part of the job.
“We live in it every day,” said Daryl Swanson, Eureka Construction foreman assigned to the project. “It’s just something that we get used to and try to be cautious and stay alert.”
Not just of their own machines, but the ones zipping down Wayzata Boulevard right next to them. Concrete barriers keep the workers separated from the traffic, but the drivers themselves are also navigating a narrow two lane road where one misstep puts them in oncoming traffic. Because of that, the work zone speed limit is 30 miles per hour, but we quickly learned people don’t always follow that limit.
“There’s a 42 mph right here,” said Officer Dustin Edberg, Wayzata Police Department, as he sat in his squad car near the work zone.
The City of Long Lake contracted with Wayzata Police to have an officer monitor the road. During WCCO’s short time with Officer Edberg, drivers were flying past him up to 15 mph over the speed limit.
“That’s why I’m here,” he said.
Police expect to catch speeders driving through work zones but even they were surprised to catch two drunk drivers, both of which happened in the morning. The driver who blew at 0.27 was initially pulled over for driving 16 mph over the speed limit.
“A crash could occur, somebody could be seriously hurt,” said Officer Edberg.
The second driver who got a DWI was caught because police say someone called 911 after seeing the driver stumble toward his car in a nearby parking lot. News of the drunk drivers surprised Swanson, but not by much.
“Like we always say, expect the unexpected and just do the best you can to be aware of the traffic around you,” he said.
Luckily Officer Dustin Edberg is on the lookout daily, spending most of his shifts specifically watching the construction zone.
“Our job is to enforce laws around here and hopefully having the story out people will slow down, they’ll know that we’re here and they’ll think twice and maybe call for a sober ride,” said Officer Edberg.
But if they don’t follow those rules, the workers nearby are glad police are ready pull people over.
“You can’t beat that. You can’t beat the police being out here for us,” said Swanson.