Construction at a busy downtown Bangor intersection has proven stressful to motorists and has authorities preaching caution through the remainder of summer road-construction season.
The downtown work to replace Civl War era drainage and sewer lines began in April and is expected to last through the remainder of the year. The project has narrowed Exchange, State, Harlow and Hammond streets to one lane, and temporarily reconfigured Park Street to one-way travel.
Summer is prime time for road construction throughout Maine, as crews work to improve infrastructure and repair winter road damage. As of mid-July, the Maine Department of Transportation lists 360 road construction projects in progress throughout the state.
Our car accident attorneys in Bangor and Portland know road construction crews face high rates of injury, whether from on-the-job mishaps or from risks created by surrounding traffic. WABI Channel 5 reported recently that the hot summer weather also increases the risk of work injury for road workers, as crews often work on fresh, black, hot top from dawn to dusk. Motorists, too, face increased collision risks for a number of reasons, including confusion, distraction, slow-moving traffic, reduced visibility, and poor road conditions.
While some motorists sympathize, even passing out bottled water, others use their horns impatiently, or ignore temporary traffic-control devices while speeding through work zones. MDOT reports more than 500 crashes occur in road-work zones each year. Motorists can reduce those risks by slowing down and obeying the reduced speed limit, paying attention, merging as required and when safe to do so, maintaining a safe following distance and staying calm during traffic delays.
The Press-Herald reported last fall that traffic fatalities have increased more than 30 percent year-over-year. For their part, authorities are working on a number of fronts to reduce the rising trend of injuries and deaths among drivers, riders and pedestrians, including changes to future construction projects. However, such improvements mean even more road construction and projects that may take longer to complete as more emphasis is put on road engineering and street designs that include better sidewalks and other safety improvements.
While our personal injury lawyers always encourage accident victims to seek experienced legal advice as soon as possible, it can be particularly critical when involved in a collision at a road-construction site. By definition, these sites will change substantially over time, sometimes in a matter of hours or days. Dangerous road conditions might also be quickly addressed and corrected in the aftermath of a collision. Carefully documenting conditions at the time of a collision can be critical to determining fault and obtaining a financial recovery from at-fault parties.
Liable parties may include at-fault drivers, project managers, construction contractors, municipalities or other third parties. Pursuing all responsible parties is critical when it comes to identifying the resources and available insurance coverage necessary to adequately compensate victims for losses. 14 M.R.S.A. § 156-A outlines Maine law as it pertains to joint and several liability, which can make each defendant responsible for the entire verdict, regardless of proportioned fault.
If you are injured in a Maine traffic collision, contact Peter Thompson & Associates at 1-800-490-5218 for a confidential consultation to discuss your rights.
Construction on busy Bangor Intersection mostly complete, July 18, 2018, Bangor Daily News
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