Caltrans Honors Fallen Highway Workers with Memorial Signs in State Roadside Rest Areas


Caltrans Honors Fallen Highway Workers with Memorial Signs in State Roadside Rest Areas

The Signs Will Also Promote Safe Driving Campaigns


Memorial Signs in District ShopMARIN COUNTY— Caltrans District 4 (Bay Area) will unveil three memorial signs at 10:00 AM, Tuesday, August 15, 2023, at the Dana Bowers Vista Point at the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge to honor the 37 District 4 workers who died in the line of duty and to encourage travelers to drive responsibly.

Similar signs will be unveiled at rest areas in the 11 other Caltrans districts this month.  

The memorial signs were designed, manufactured, and will be installed by Caltrans workers to recognize the 191 highway workers who have been killed on the job since 1921. Every year, Caltrans employees, family members of fallen workers, and community members throughout California gather to honor these workers and to promote safe driving campaigns.

“Safety is Caltrans’ top priority,” said Caltrans Director Tony Tavares. “Lives are literally at stake every day. We hold a sacred duty to remember all the people who have lost their lives working with us, and I implore all Californians to please slow down and move over in every work zone, every time. A life may depend on it.”

“These signs honor our lost workers and serve as a poignant reminder of the hazards of working near live traffic,” Caltrans District 4 Director Dina El-Tawansy.  “When visitors to the Vista Point see the hardhats on the sign, we hope they think of the workers they represent, and remember to drive safely and be especially vigilant when traveling through work zones.”

“A little over a year ago, we experienced the tragedy of losing one of our own, Quanda McGadney, stuck by a reckless driver on June 3, 2022, a mother, friend and fellow worker whose life was cut short as she worked on Interstate 80 in Fairfield,” said El-Tawansy. 

With the passage of the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs of 2021 as well as Senate Bill 1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017, Caltrans and local agencies now have significant additional funds to repair and maintain California’s transportation system. The additional funding has increased the number of Caltrans employees and contractors working on the state highway system, highlighting the importance for drivers to stay vigilant and aware.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, highway construction and maintenance work is one of the most hazardous occupations in the United States. In 2021, more than 9,500 work zone collisions occurred on California highways, resulting in an estimated 2,971 injuries and 73 fatalities. Nationally, drivers and passengers account for 85 percent of people who are killed in work zones.

In 2022, Caltrans announced a new Director’s Policy on Road Safety, which commits the department to the Safe System approach and reaffirms the vision of reaching zero fatalities and serious injuries on state highways by 2050. This policy takes steps to further a shift that began in 2020, as state transportation leaders recognized a bolder and more focused approach was necessary to combat the troubling rise in fatalities and serious injuries on California roads. The state’s 2020-24 Strategic Highway Safety Plan – managed by Caltrans and involving more than 400 stakeholders – was updated to include the Safe System approach.

Caltrans has partnered with the California Transportation Foundation to develop two funds to benefit families of Caltrans workers killed on the job. The Fallen Workers Assistance and Memorial Fund helps with the initial needs a surviving family faces and the Caltrans Fallen Workers Memorial Scholarship is available to children of these workers. For more information or to make donations, visit the California Transportation Foundation.