(a) As used in this Code section, the term:
(1) “Highway work zone” means a segment of any highway, road, or street where the Department of Transportation, a county, a municipality, or any contractor for any of the foregoing is engaged in constructing, reconstructing, or maintaining the physical structure of the roadway or its shoulders or features adjacent to the roadway, including without limitation underground or overhead utilities or highway appurtenances, or any other type of work related thereto.
(2) “Work zone personnel” means employees of the Department of Transportation, a county, a municipality, or any contractor for any of the foregoing.
(b)(1) The Department of Transportation, any county, or any municipality may designate any segment of a highway, road, or street under its jurisdiction as a highway work zone.
(2) Whenever a highway work zone is designated pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection, there shall be erected or posted signage of adequate size at the beginning point of such highway work zone designating the zone and warning the traveling public that increased penalties for speeding violations are in effect for the highway work zone, and there shall be erected or posted at the end of such highway work zone adequate signage indicating the end of such zone and that increased penalties for speeding violations are no longer in effect.
(c)(1) The Department of Transportation or the governing authority of any county or municipal corporation is authorized to establish a temporary reduction in the maximum speed limit through any highway work zone located on or adjacent to any street or highway under its respective jurisdiction. The commissioner of transportation or the local governing authority shall not be required to conduct any engineering and traffic investigation in order to establish a reduced speed limit in a highway work zone pursuant to this paragraph.
(2) Whenever reduced speed zones are established pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection, there shall be erected or posted signage of adequate size at the beginning point of such speed zone designating the zone and the speed limit to be observed therein, and there shall be erected or posted at the end of such speed zone adequate signage indicating the end of such speed zone, which signage shall also indicate such different speed limit as may then be observed. Signs indicating such reduced speed limit shall be spaced not further than one mile apart throughout the highway work zone. Where the speed limit established pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection is at least ten miles per hour less than the established speed limit on the street or highway, there shall be erected at least 600 feet in advance of the beginning of the speed zone a sign of adequate size which shall bear the legend “Reduced Speed Ahead.” Whenever any signage is required by this paragraph, the same shall be in addition to the signage requirements of paragraph (2) of subsection (b) of this Code section.
(d)(1) Any signage required by this Code section shall conform to applicable provisions of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices; provided, however, that nothing in this Code section shall prohibit the use of movable or portable speed limit signs in highway work zones.
(2) Any existing regulatory signage conflicting with signage erected or posted pursuant to this Code section shall be removed, covered, folded, or turned so as not to be readable by oncoming motorists.
(e)(1) In order for a person to be cited or convicted for exceeding a speed limit, reduced or otherwise, in any highway work zone as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, there must be present in the highway work zone at the time of the offense the signage required by this Code section and either:
(A) Work zone personnel; or
(B) Barriers, on-site work vehicles, or shoulder or pavement drop offs that constitute a hazard to the traveling public.
(2) A person convicted of exceeding the speed limit, reduced or otherwise, in any highway work zone designated pursuant to this Code section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature and shall be punished by a fine of not less than $100.00 nor more than $2,000.00 or by imprisonment for a term not to exceed 12 months, or both.
(f) Whenever the Department of Transportation finds it necessary to designate a highway work zone within a county or municipality, the Department of Transportation shall be required to notify the county or municipality of the work activity; provided, however, that the failure of the Department of Transportation to give such notice shall not be a defense to any charge of violating the speed limit in any highway work zone.
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