Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

News Release

April 25, 2018

MnDOT honors fallen transportation workers during Worker Memorial Day

ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Minnesota Department of Transportation will participate in Worker Memorial Day observances this week and next to honor transportation workers who were killed or injured on the job.
Gov. Mark Dayton proclaimed April 28, 2018 as Worker Memorial Day in Minnesota in recognition of the high price transportation workers have paid in the construction and maintenance of the state’s transportation system.

Since 1960, 35 MnDOT workers and 15 contractors have lost their lives while working on Minnesota highways. 

“With more than 250 construction work zones under way this year, there are hundreds of men and women on the roads working to improve our roads and bridges and make them safer for everybody,” said Commissioner Charlie Zelle. “We all need to do our part so all our workers return safely to their families at the end of the day. We will continue to work for the safety of our employees, our contractors, the traveling public and all our transportation partners.”

As part of the observance, the Interstate 35W bridge in Minneapolis will be lit orange on April 28, 29 and 30.

MnDOT, in conjunction with local unions, is holding special events in three locations to honor workers killed or injured on the job:

  • April 26, 9 a.m. – Rochester, 2900 48th St. NW
  • April 30, 8:30 a.m. – Mankato, 2151 Bassett Dr.
  • April 30, 10 a.m. – St. Paul, at the Maryland Avenue Truck Station, 244 E. Maryland Ave.

MnDOT’s headquarters in St. Paul will also observe Worker Memorial Day April 30 with a moment of silence at 2 p.m. for workers killed.

This year, one additional employee was added to the permanent Worker Memorial located in the lobby of the MnDOT building at 395 John Ireland in St. Paul. John Biever was killed near Houston, Minn., in 1962, but his name was never added to the memorial. Biever, 54, was killed when a pickup truck hit him as he was working on a Highway 16 bridge. The Rochester event April 26 will honor Biever and members of his family are expected to attend.

“We are honored that Mr. Biever’s family consented to the addition of his name on the memorial and that they will attend the Rochester event,” said Zelle. “It certainly brings home the fact that lives are impacted forever when someone is taken from them so tragically.”

MnDOT reminds the public that motorists and passengers suffer the vast majority of work zone deaths and injuries and urges them to follow these recommendations in work zones:

  • Stay alert; work zones constantly change with lane shifts, closures and moving workers and vehicles
  • Watch for signs, equipment and workers
  • Minimize distractions, such as using cell phones, eating or drinking
  • Avoid tailgating
  • Follow posted speed limits and directional signs
  • Be patient; expect delays, especially during peak travel times
  • Avoid lane changes while navigating the work zone

Visit the MnDOT Worker Memorial website to view the proclamation and learn more about the worker memorial at MnDOT headquarters.