Construction workers worry about work zone speed limit increases

Pennsylvania is raising the speed limits on some interstates. For drivers, the changes could allow them to save a few minutes on the road, but some construction workers fear that more speed will mean more serious work zone accidents.

In late July, the speed limit was raised to 70 mph on the Pennsylvania Turnpike from Blue Mountain to Morgantown. According to news reports, depending how the increase goes, the Turnpike may increase the limit on other roads. A higher speed limit was expected to take place this month on a stretch of Interstate 80 in Clearfield County and a stretch of Interstate 380 in Monroe and Lackawanna Counties.

In at least some places, the speed limits in work zones are also changing. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is raising the speed limit in construction to 55 mph in the new higher-speed sections of the interstates. The work zone limit had been 45 mph. That change has some road construction workers concerned.

One construction worker told the news station WNEP 16: “One thing between me and you is this barrier wall. And if someone hits it at 55, we’re both gone.”

It was unclear whether work zone limits would also change on the Turnpike.

Work zone accidents are a real danger for construction workers. WNEP reports that over the last decade, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 249 people in Pennsylvania died in work zones, including 49 construction workers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Pennsylvania is the fourth deadliest state in the nation for work zone accident deaths.


  • Our law firm represents injured construction workers in workers’ compensation claims. For more information, see our page on construction workers and workers’ comp.