'It's scary:' new flag people prepared for highway dangers

By Britton Gray/CJME News Staff
May 19, 2017 - 3:52pm
Albert Brown, Highways and Infrastructure Minister David Marit, MLA Warren Steinley and Diana Lumbala kick off construction season with a safety event on May 18.
Albert Brown, Highways and Infrastructure Minister David Marit, MLA Warren Steinley and Diana Lumbala kick off construction season with a safety event on May 18. Britton Gray/CJME News Staff

This year is Albert Brown's first summer working as a highway flag person.

He took the job as a way to make extra money before returning to Medicine Hat for schooling.

He realized right from the beginning how dangerous the job may be.

“We were told in training you had to wake up thinking that this could be my last day so you have to go to work and safety has to be your number one priority.”

He said it was important advice, adding it reminds him to always be on his toes and on the lookout for danger.

In his three weeks of being on the highway, Brown said he has seen about 20 cars disobeying the speed limit in the orange zone. He said it's important all cars in the construction area slow down, even those on the opposite side of the highway.

“It's scary. They're flicking rocks up and what not and if they're not paying attention they could hit us or someone in our crew.”

Another new flag person this summer is 19-year-old Diana Lumbala. She said they receive all the training needed to ensure they are safe and are also taught to use an escape route if the worst happens.

“That is if the people on the roads don't listen to you and you need to drop your sign and run basically,” Lumbala explained.

The province is reminding people that safety of the workers is the top priority during construction.

The speed limit is 60 kilometres in the orange zone and fines are tripled. It is also illegal to pass vehicles with flashing lights.

The government is investing $1.1 billion in highway construction and repairs this year, slightly less than last year.

 

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On Twitter: @BrittonGray

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