Greg Vilidnitsky, a MassDOT Engineer who was struck and killed in September 2010 while working on Route 9 in Framingham, was honored Wednesday when a Route 9 bridge spanning the Sudbury River was dedicated in his name.
Vilidnitsky started working with MassDOT in 2008 and was immediately noticed by his colleagues and supervisors for his superior work ethic and talent, according to a MassDOT press release. Almost immediately, his supervisors began grooming him to become a Resident Engineer for MassDOT's Highway Division.
“By all accounts, Greg Vilidnitsky was a true leader and an outstanding example of the kind of qualities we, at MassDOT, strive toward each day,” said MassDOT Secretary and CEO Richard A. Davey. “And it is because of who he was that makes his loss resonate with all of us even more.”
According to MassDOT, Vilidnitsky's coworkers remember him as capable, meticulous, optimistic, professional, and humorous, with a strong work ethic and an appreciation for having a job that he quickly learned to love.
“Every day, MassDOT personnel and our contractors put themselves into harm's way as part of their job,” said Highway Administrator Frank DePaola. “The tragedy that took the life of someone so talented tells us we need to continue our efforts to educate the public that behind those barrels and barriers, are our friends, our coworkers, and members of our family.”
Jeremy Gardner, of Bridgton, Maine, was drunk when the truck he was driving struck Vilidnitsky. Gardner kept driving before colliding with an oil truck, according to authorities. The work site had reflective cones, barrels, and other markings set up around the perimeter, according to court records. A Middlesex sheriff’s deputy was also at the scene working a detail.
In March 2012, Gardner, who had multiple driving convictions on his record at the time of the crash, pleaded guilty to motor vehicle homicide and was sentenced to eight years in prison.
“In order to keep the public safe on our roads and bridges engineers, policemen, contractors and others like Greg put themselves in harm's way every day. As we travel around during our day we often see, but do not recognize the vulnerability of these men and woman,” said Representative Walsh (D-Framingham). “It is important however to recognize both the critical nature and the inherent risks of this work; this bridge dedication is a small but important gesture in that direction.”
“The dedication of this bridge is a gesture to honor Greg Vilidnitsky, as well as to remember those who put themselves in harm’s way to make our communities better places to live," said State Sen. Karen Spilka (D-Ashland).
“Greg was a father of two and, by all accounts, a dedicated worker who earned an honest paycheck,” said State Rep. Tom Sannicandro (D-Ashland). “He died working on behalf of the public. This bridge renaming is one small gesture we can make to honor his work and his life.”
Working with the Executive Office of Public Safety and the State Police, MassDOT started a Work Zone Speed Enforcement program to enforce speed restrictions in construction sites and generate public awareness of the dangers of speeding and distracted or impaired driving. The program went into effect on Friday, Nov. 4, 2011 and is in its second full season.
The program consists of additional deployments of State Troopers. In each of the six Highway Districts, two teams of Troopers can be deployed at two different work sites on a given day for a total of 24 locations to enforce speeding.
This year, between April 5 and May 26, State Police have made 112 stops and have issued 101 speeding citations.