APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) – Outagamie County officials held a National Work Zone Awareness Week kickoff event at the Outagamie County Highway Building to signify the importance of work zone safety.

Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson and other critical public officials were on hand to raise awareness of work zone hazards and the importance of work zone safety.

Motorists are encouraged to slow down to posted speed limits, eliminate distractions while driving, and be watchful for roadway workers and their equipment.

“We want to put the safety of our workers and the safety of our drivers first,” said Nelson. “We make it a point to recognize that this is not only important for us to get the shovels in the ground, to get out there to fix roads, but to know our guys and gals are going to be out there all summer.”

Every year, there is an average of about 2,300 accidents in the state, and the theme for work zone safety is to “Work with us,” something Nelson says needs to be taken seriously.

“Buckle up, put the phones down, take your time, and don’t tailgate,” said Nelson. “Every single one of our workers, they have a home to go back to, they have a family to go back to. Think of them as your dad, as your mom, and be extra safe.”

Nelson continued on to tell Local 5 News that this year is sort of like a dry run to next year’s big construction project on Interstate 41. He says that it will take a regional-wide partnership to ensure that no work zone accidents occur.

“It’s going to be very important for us but wherever the work site might be, whether it’s a county road, a town road, the interstate, please take your time, build extra time in your day,” concluded Nelson. “In order for us to have good infrastructure here, we need to have safe work zones.”

In addition to the Work Zone Awareness Week, officials are asking residents to unite for safety by wearing orange for Go Orange Day on Wednesday, April 19.

A moment of silence will also be held to remember the people whose lives were lost in a work zone incident on April 21.