Memorial honoring NY’s fallen highway workers unveiled at NYS Fair

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Cars drive past construction workers along Interstate Highway 66 in Manassas, Virginia, on August 10, 2021. – The US Senate approved US President Joe Biden’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure investment plan. The package described by the White House as “historic” only needed a simple majority to pass, and received the rare backing of several Republicans. The ambitious plan provides for $550 billion in new federal spending on transport infrastructure, but also for high-speed internet and efforts to fight climate change. (Photo by Andrew CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP) (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

NEW YORK (WWTI) — A new memorial has been dedicated to workers who lost their lives while protecting the public and maintaining a safe highway system in New York. The public can find the memorial near the midway entrance and west of the Horticulture Building on the New York State fairgrounds.

The memorial honors all transportation workers killed while performing their job duties on or near New York’s thousands of miles of highways, including State Department of Transportation and Thruway Authority employees, municipal highway workers, contractors, consultants and towing service employees.

The new memorial includes a centerpiece featuring a bronze sculpture of shovels, hard hats and boots on a platform surrounded by four bronze traffic cones and a dedication plaque. It also features paved walkways and seating for respectful reflection. Shrubs and trees have been planted around the centerpiece and along the outside of the memorial. 

According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, from 2003 to 2017 a total of 1,844 workers lost their lives at road construction sites across the United States, averaging at 123 deaths per year.  The State Department of Transportation alone has lost 56 workers during its existence.

The memorial was unveiled by Governor Kathy Hochul at the New York State Fair on August 29. She said the tribute is well deserved.

“This memorial honors the hardworking New Yorkers who put their personal safety on the line to build our bridges, pave our roads and maintain our infrastructure so the rest of us can reach our destinations safely,” Hochul said. “This will serve as a lasting tribute to all those who lost their lives while performing their duties, and as a reminder that these dedicated workers are out there every day making our roads and bridges safer. We owe them all a debt of gratitude.”

The Department of Transportation is implementing work zone cameras in maintenance work zones and contractor project work zones across New York to better protect transportation workers. The Thruway Authority is deploying more than a dozen new trucks throughout its four maintenance divisions across the state featuring enhanced technology focused directly on improving work zone safety.

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