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Gov. Cuomo announces debut of highway workers memorial

Memorial to honor workers who lost their lives while working on the job.
Credit: State of NY
Construction underway for memorial to honor the workers who lost their lives protecting the public while maintaining a safe highway system in New York

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Friday, Governor Cuomo announced a new memorial that is being built to  honor fallen highway workers across New York.

Construction is underway and the memorial will be unveiled at the 2021 Great New York State Fair which takes place from August 20 until September 6.The memorial will be located near the midway entrance and west of the Horticulture Building on the fairgrounds, 

The memorial is meant to honor all transportation workers killed while performing their job duties on or near New York's thousands of miles of highways, including State Department of Transportation and Thruway Authority employees, municipal highway workers, contractors, consultants and towing service employees.

"These hardworking and dedicated New Yorkers routinely put their personal safety on the line to build our bridges, pave our roads and maintain a safe, reliable infrastructure, so that all New Yorkers can reach their destinations as safely as possible. We are grateful for the work that these women and men perform year-round and this new memorial, which will be ready in time for the 2021 Great New York State Fair, will serve as a lasting tribute to all the workers who lost their lives while performing their duties," said Gov. Cuomo.

According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, from 2003-2017, 1,844 workers lost their lives at road construction sites across the United States, averaging 123 per year. The State Department of Transportation alone has lost 56 workers during its existence.

The new memorial will include a centerpiece featuring a bronze sculpture of shovels, hard hats and boots on a platform surrounded by four bronze traffic cones and a dedication plaque. It will also include paved walkways and seating for respectful reflection, the news release said. 

Shrubs and trees will be planted around the centerpiece and along the outside of the memorial.

Friday's announcement also comes at a time when New York State Police and local law enforcement agencies are writing tickets in record numbers to crack down on motorists who flagrantly disobey vehicle and traffic laws in highway work zones as part of Operation Hardhat