Two major road construction projects in northeast Wisconsin will impact drivers this summer on I-43. But as Kris Schuller reports the Wisconsin Department of Transportation has started a program aimed at keeping drivers safe and traffic moving.

On I-43 in northeast Wisconsin thousands of drivers travel the interstate each day.  But add in some construction and traffic slows, frustration builds and issues are bound to happen.

“The effects of a car broken down on the side of the road can have really disastrous results,” said Mark Kantola, regional communications manager for WisDOT.

Knowing that the state agency week initiated this week a safety program to keep traffic moving on 16 miles of I-43 in Brown and Manitowoc counties, where traffic is down to one lane in each direction and construction continues until the fall.

Bringing on people like Kevin Paschen, a driver for WisDOT’s Freeway Service Teams, to get stranded vehicles of the road.

“The world has got itself in a big hurry,” said Paschen. “Our job out there is to basically keep traffic moving.”

From now until construction is complete in both counties these teams will patrol the construction zones every day during peak driving hours.

“We run both north and south, keep making round trips and look for anybody that needs help,” Paschen said.

“They are literally minutes away from you if you break down, run out of gas, your car overheats, if your tire pops and you need to change it,” Kantola said. “It’s those little things that really impede traffic.”

In 2015 in Wisconsin distracted driving was involved in over 24,000 crashes. By removing disabled vehicles from these construction zones quickly WisDOT hopes to keep everyone safe. 

“It’s all about a safety thing, we certainly don’t want to see anybody hurt up there,” said Paschen.

The service is free of charge to drivers. Freeway Service Teams also operate in the WIS 441 Tri-County Reconstruction Project.