Safety for "Flaggers"
RICHLAND, Wash.--Names alone won't keep Amy Hightower from doing her job. Amy is a "Flagger." She makes sure cars don't cross over the cones into the work zone as well as helping trucks like this get back on the road. To be effective, Amy walks into the flow of traffic. According to her supervisor, she's in harms way everyday.
"From time to time you get frustrated drivers who are upset with the detouring and the road work going on and stuff," says Traffic Control Supervisor Robin Wind. So, it can be a dangerous job, yes.>
But it's the risks that keeps Amy focused. She admits the job isn't that entertaining, but its important. Many drivers however only see the inconvenience. And sometimes, they'll voice their opinion.
"I think it just comes with the daily task ya know," says Hightower. You just know that in a days work, somebody's gonna get grumpy, somebody's gonna be mad, somebody's gonna mouth off and say something.
Construction zones like this one on Gage Boulevard in Richland have a reduced speed. Police say that doesn't sit well with those in a hurry.
"Sometimes people just don't pay any attention, but one of the greatest risks they have is actually intentional acts by other drivers," says Richland Police Captain Mike Cobb. People will swerve to try to bump them with mirrors, they'll throw things from cars.
Amy admits she's had her foot run over, even received certain hand gestures from drivers. But its all worth it to watch a project get completed.
"The improvements that are coming are gonna benefit everybody," says Wind. The roads gonna be nice when its done, ya know, there gonna have sidewalks and street lights, and their really gonna appreciate it after its done.