NICHOLS, N.Y. (WENY) — Road work can be dangerous, especially when thousands of cars drive up and down New York State's highways every day.
Now, with the help of the Department of Transportation, New York State Police are hitting the road in hopes of keeping construction workers safe.

It's that time of year again, bright orange cones line the road, traffic is cut down to one lane and a bunch of people are wearing hard hats. It's construction season.

"Inside those cones are people, real people, mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, whose families are waiting for them to come home at night," said Scott Cook
Public Information Specialist, Region 9, NYS DOT.

Operation Hard Hat, an initiative between the New York State Police and the Department of Transportation, aims to reduce the risk construction workers face every day. 

"Any ticket, more than one, is more than enough. We don't want anyone who may not have eyes on the road to put these workers at risk," said Trooper Aga Dembinska, Troop C, Public Information Officer.

This might look like people with the Department of Transportation hard at work, but one of them is actually a police officer.

"He's out there and if he sees a violation, he grabs a radio and radios ahead to some of the troopers that are waiting ahead, gives them a description of the
car and their driver and then a trooper initiates a traffic stop," Dembinska said.

If someone is driving recklessly in a construction zone, the workers don't have much of anything to protect them.

"Oftentimes it's just cones, orange cones, big ones, small ones," Cook said.

Even though road work is speeding up right here along Route 17, state troopers are reminding drivers to slow down.

"You definitely feel that car wiz by. Sometimes the person gets distracted on their phone. It's been a close call before, we've had many close calls in the
past where you have to jump out of the way because someone is cutting it a little bit too close," Dembinska said.

On Tuesday, troopers in Tioga County gave out 13 traffic tickets for speeding, not wearing a seatbelt and cellphone use in a work zone. Officials from the department of transportation hope this will encourage people to follow the law.

"Any time you come across a slow down for a work zone sign, there could be a trooper with a vest and a hat on with a radar gun looking to see if you're distracted, looking to see if you're on your cell phone. Often times there will be. If that's not incentive enough to keep us safe and alive and keep your family safe and alive, maybe that couple hundred dollar ticket will be," Cook said.

Construction season isn't ending any time soon and neither is police surveillance. Trooper Dembinska says Operation Hard Hat will continue until the weather turns cold.