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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — In a record year for Tennessee roadwork, the University of Tennessee is helping make highway construction areas safer for workers and motorists on all the nation’s roads.

UT-Knoxville’s Transportation Center has been named one of nine U.S. training centers in the Federal Highway Administration’s National Highway Institute.

Dr. Steve Richards, UT Transportation Center director, said an initial $350,000 award would be used to teach courses on safety at work zones and rail-highway grade crossings. Training begins this month in Nashville.

“It is appropriate to begin with courses on work zone safety in our home state, given the number of highway construction projects underway and the great concern state and local agencies have for worker and motorist safety in our highway work areas,” Richards said.

State Department of Transportation data show Tennessee currently has 530 contracts for highway and bridge projects totaling a record $1.5 billion.
Richards said more than 30 courses will be taught over the next two years in highway safety, traffic management and intelligent transportation systems.

“Our selection as a national training center represents a significant recognition of the resources of our center and the talents of our staff and faculty in the transportation area,” Richards said.

Zach Zacharia, director of UT’s transportation training division, oversees both initial training course contracts.

“The new courses will complement our overall training efforts at UT and provide enhanced opportunities for our faculty and researchers to work with transportation professionals around the country,” Zacharia said.