Orange barrels on a highway
News Release
April 27, 2011




Minnesota Department of Transportation
Office of Communications
395 John Ireland Blvd.
Mail Stop 150
St. Paul, MN 55155-1899


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Mn/DOT to commemorate Workers Memorial Day April 28

Gov. Dayton and Commissioner Sorel to lead memorial commemoration event in Mankato


ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Minnesota Department of Transportation will commemorate Workers Memorial Day April 28, by honoring the 46 workers who died while working on Mn/DOT construction and maintenance projects since 1960.

Mike Struck, a nine-year employee at Mn/DOT District 7/Mankato, is one of the 46 workers who will be honored. Struck died March 22, 2011, when the backhoe he was using to clear debris along Highway 169 between Mankato and St. Peter was pulled into flood waters.

“The passing of Mike Struck is a tragic reminder of the dangers our men and women deal with in pursuit of keeping Minnesota’s roads clear and safe for the driving public,” said Transportation Commissioner Tom Sorel. “It is important that we remember the 33 state highway workers and 13 contract workers who lost their lives on the job and honor them by using extra caution in work zones during the spring and summer months."

The agency’s statewide observance to commemorate the day will be highlighted by 10 seconds of silence to honor those Mn/DOT employees and contract workers who have been injured or killed on the job.

Ceremonies will be held April 28 at the district headquarters in Rochester and Mankato, as well as the Workers Memorial Garden on the State Capitol lawn in St. Paul. Gov. Mark Dayton and Commissioner Sorel will speak at the Mankato event. Representatives from the Minnesota State Patrol and local unions also will participate in the commemorations.

“The ceremonies come at a time when crews are beginning work on several road projects around the state,” Sorel said. “Mn/DOT will be working on 258 state highway construction projects throughout Minnesota this year—that equates to a lot of orange barrels.”

Mn/DOT reminds motorists that the vast majority of work zone deaths and injuries are suffered by motorists.

The number of work zone crashes on Minnesota state highways increased from 1,788 incidents in 2009, to 1,915 work zone crashes in 2010. Fatalities decreased from 13 in 2009, to 11 in 2010, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.

“Although the number of crash-related deaths in work zones decreased in the last year, our goal remains zero deaths,” Sorel said. “Mn/DOT continues to work closely with other agencies as part of the Toward Zero Deaths initiative to reduce serious crashes through the integrated application of education, engineering, enforcement, and emergency medical and trauma services.”

Mn/DOT urges motorists to follow these recommendations in work zones: 

For more information on Workers Memorial Day, visit