SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Construction season is officially upon us, with city streets torn asunder amid a forest of orange cones and road work machinery. Along with this work comes reduced visibility, narrowed lanes, increased congestion and a heightened risk of crashes.

Tuesday, KELOLAND News spoke with Sioux Falls Principal Engineer Brad Ludens.

Ludens has been with the City of Sioux Falls for 17 years, and he met up with us at the corner of 6th Street and Cleveland Avenue to discuss the issue of safety in construction zones.

The streets surrounding this intersection are restricted to one lane in each direction, plus a turning lane near the light. Concrete repair is underway, and 6th Street will be getting surface work done from Cleveland Avenue all the way to Sycamore Avenue.

Ludens urges patience as the primary need from drivers. “We’ve got just a limited amount of time to do a lot of work around the city,” he said. “You’re going to run into construction almost anywhere you go.”

One of the biggest issues Ludens sees, noted even during our interview, is speeding. “Speed limits are usually posted at 25[mph] through construction zones,” he said.

An issue that compounds with speed is lack of proper attention.

“People are often not paying attention and either don’t see that the speed’s been reduced, or they tend to speed anyway,” Ludens said. “They fly through those construction zones, and that can be kind of dangerous.”

Ludens says the danger extends to many areas. First of all, there is danger to construction workers who are laboring near the traffic lanes. Danger is also present due to heavy machinery that may be moving into a driving lane. A driver speeding or not paying attention may not have time to avoid hitting something.

A lack of attention can be caused by many things, says Ludens. “Whether it be looking at their phone, messing with the radio, trying to eat something from the drive-thru on their way home –that’s just no good for anybody,” he said.

Physical risk isn’t the only thing present either; there are also financial costs.

Sioux Falls Police Department officer Sam Clemens urges slow speeds and increased attention as well, noting that fines for speeding in work zones are set by the court, and could cost a driver over $100 on the low end, and can reach all the way up to nearly $400 per ticket for those traveling more than 25 mph over the limit.

Someone doing 45 in a 25 mph work zone, which is not an uncommon sight, could wind up paying around $250 for the 30 seconds they were hoping to shave off their commute.

Safety in construction zones also falls on the shoulders of pedestrians.

“We try to maintain pedestrian access as much as we can,” said Ludens. “When we’re doing work on the sidewalk itself, we’ll need to close the sidewalk. We ask people to use the other side [of the street] if they can, or find an alternate route to where they need to go.”

Ludens says that as projects wear on through the summer, the work crews see a mix of adaptation and diminishing patience. “You see a lot of times people will use an alternate route, so there’s maybe a little bit less traffic — but as traffic builds — people’s patience seems to get a little thin.”