REGION - Motorists are being warned to watch out for road works and be patient, as hundreds of maintenance projects to improve Victoria's road network get underway.
Minister for Roads Terry Mulder joined forces with Worksafe to encourage all drivers to stick to reduced speed limits through road work sites.
"VicRoads and its contractors will be taking advantage of the warmer weather to carry out repair and maintenance works on more than 200 road projects through to the end of January," he said.
"These vital resurfacing works will target key routes like the Eastern, Monash, Princes and Hume freeways, as well as dozens of roads across the city and many highways across Victoria.
"This is the best time of the year to resurface and re-seal our roads because asphalting requires good weather. Drivers will start to notice road works popping up on those roads which need a bit of maintenance."
Mr Mulder said the intensive program of works meant more than 2,500 road workers and traffic management employees would be in close contact with passing vehicles over the next six weeks.
"When you work in a construction zone, you are placed in an extremely hazardous environment and many of our road workers have told us about near misses and abuse from passing drivers," he said.
"These workers are out there doing their jobs and trying to improve our roads. I would ask all Victorians to help keep them safe by obeying speed limits and leaving plenty of room when driving past construction sites."
WorkSafe Regional Director Shane Gillard said road workers operated in a difficult work environment, often in hot and dusty conditions and close to heavy and noisy machinery.
"Road workers are vulnerable because of their proximity to traffic, particularly if speed limits are being ignored," Mr Gillard said.
"This is why there are reduced speed limits around road works and why we need to remind drivers to take extra care."