May 2, 2013 7:58 PM
It was a somber day at the State Capitol.
Caltrans workers killed on the job were remembered at the 23rd annual Workers Memorial Day.
The ceremony comes eight days after two Caltrans workers were killed by a rockslide as they worked to stabalize a hillside in Siskiyou County.
It's a colorful reminder of tragic circumstances.
Every year, the Caltrans Memorial features traffic cones, each one representing a worker who died on the job.
The number now totals 180.
"My sincerest condolences go out to those who have lost someone in the line of service," said Caltrans spokesperson Bonnie Lowenthal.
This year, two new cones were added for 40-year-old Joseph Jones of Montague, and 50-year-old Shawn Baker of Weed.
They died on April 24th in a rock scaling operation near Yreka.
"These men were out there on the highway working to make our lives better and the public safer. We're forever grateful for their service," said Caltrans Spokesperson Brian Kelly.
Adding to the heavy hearts, this morning, a Caltrans worker on his way to this memorial was killed in a traffic collision at the intersection of Highway 99 and Riego Road north of Sacramento.
The victim, 51-year old Dean Patton from Grass Valley, was riding his harley davidson with other motorcyclists.
CHP authorities said a 73-year old Sacramento women made a lefthand turn in her suv in front of the motorcycle riders.
Patton did not have time to turn or stop.
"That's just very unfortunate to have that happen and to have that associated with an event where we're recognizing just how dangerous our work is," said Caltrans Deputy Director Rick Land.
This Workers Memorial is a reminder that safety is a year-round priority.
Last month, Caltrans and the CHP began installing signs across the state as part of the "Move Over" law.
The signs remind drivers to move over or slow down for highway employees, law enforcement and emergency workers.
"This event is also an important reminder to the traveling public, just how important it is to pay attention. It's a very dangerous job for our highway workers and we need their help," added Land.