ROAD workers on the Ipswich Motorway have been subjected to such severe abuse that surveillance cameras have been installed to catch them.
The Main Roads Department said road workers and traffic controllers have suffered verbal and physical abuse from enraged drivers.
Mains Roads Minister Craig Wallace said the department’s Road Worker Safety Hotline had been swamped with complaints.
Mr Wallace said in the worst cases over the past year a worker was shot at with an air rifle from a passing vehicle and a traffic controller was assaulted with an umbrella.
“We are trialling new technology to find ways to improve worksite safety for our road workers, including a $40,000 project to trial thermal cameras on barrier trucks and to trial new TrailerCams,” Mr Wallace said.
“The TrailerCams will be used to monitor road user behaviour as they travel through a worksite.
“Footage of any bad driving behaviour, failure to follow a traffic controller’s direction and abuse will be forwarded to police for investigation.”
The TrailerCam system and signage started a three month trial this week on the motorway upgrade from Dinmore to Goodna.
TrailerCam is a self contained portable CCTV monitoring station that uses a nest of closed circuit (CCTV) and PTZ (Pan-tilt-zoom) cameras on a six-metre mast.
Mr Wallace said the use of thermal cameras on barrier trucks was an Australia-first initiative, recently trialled to increase the awareness of work teams and provide enhanced early warnings of approaching traffic.
Thermal images can detect objects six to seven times further than headlights at night and through fog and dust up to 800 metres.
“My department is now preparing a business case to roll out more cameras on to barrier trucks across the state to help improve warning times for workers on the state’s roads,” Mr Wallace said.
He said safety tips included:
Slow down: reduced roadwork speed limits apply at all times and are legally enforceable.
Drive carefully: you may be liable for damage to your own or other vehicles.
Follow road workers’ instructions: they keep you safe in changed traffic conditions.
Keep a safe distance from other vehicles, traffic barriers, construction equipment and road workers.