In a special but somber ceremony in San Diego Wednesday, Caltrans paid tribute to 183 highway workers killed on the job statewide.
The gathering included a memorial display of 183 orange highway cones – one for each of the Caltrans workers killed since 1921. Each Caltrans cone included the name of the worker killed on duty. A “Reading of the Names” gave fellow Caltrans employees a moment to remember and reflect on the lives lost.
Featured speakers at the event included Caltrans District Director Laurie Berman, Caltrans Division Chief of Maintenance Tony Tavares, Caltrans Deputy District Director of Structures Construction Dennis Wilder, Caltrans District Division Chief of Maintenance Everett Townsend, and California Highway Patrol Border Division Assistant Chief John Antillion.
The speakers stressed the importance of safety on the job and reminded drivers to slow down near a “cone zone.” They shared personal, heartfelt stories of those killed on the job and families they've left behind.
“We do well to remember our fallen workers and keep in mind just how suddenly one of our co-workers, family members or friends can be taken from us forever,” said Berman. “Anytime a member of the Caltrans family is lost, the shock and sadness is felt by all of us, whether we knew them or not. We never forget. The news that one of our workers has been killed in the line of duty is like our 9/11.”
“Each fatality has something to teach us,” she continued. “We will continue to implement new practices to help improve worker safety.”
The ceremony was attended by hundreds, including fellow Caltrans workers and their families.