BROWN COUNTY - The Wisconsin Department of Transportation says the deadly accident Friday on Highway 41 serves as a reminder of just how dangerous road construction jobs can be.
The construction project manager says this is the first death since the project began in Winnebago County three years ago.
The work-related accident comes just a few days before the start of Work Zone Awareness Week. And the project manager says safety is always the top priority.
The construction project manager for US 41 says while any accident on this stretch of highway is tragic, Friday's death hits an especially hard blow.
"We've had other smaller incidents with folks getting splinters maybe a twisted joint but this is the first fatality we've had on Highway 41," said Michael King, US 41 construction supervisor.
The 58-year-old worker died while helping put together a crane operated by Lunda Construction.
Lunda declined to comment on the incident.
The DOT says Lunda, based in Black River Falls, is one of the premiere companies in the region for bridge work.
"The company involved in the incident was a very well-known company. They have a very good safety record. We've had very good cooperation from a safety standpoint from Lunda in the past," said King.
Construction managers say the drivers on the highway pose a bigger threat to workers than the construction equipment.
Just last week, an intoxicated driver nearly hit workers on Highway 41 near Mason Street. It was caught on camera.
King says it's up to drivers to stay alert.
"We have changing patterns and narrowing lanes, you can't enter and exit lanes quite as good as they could before the construction work began," he said.
Construction crews say Friday's accident hasn't put the US 41 Project behind schedule. Work will start up again on Monday morning as usual.
According to the project's website, the total project is only 34 percent done.
Construction is expected to end in 2014.
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