Posts Tagged highway construction

Utahns and those orange cones

construction_trafficIt was about 11:30 a.m. yesterday I began hearing the sirens. There were a lot of them and they went on for a long time. I saw the medical helicopter. I knew it was something bad and was probably an incident on the freeway. I guessed right. The third accident in two days in almost the same location in that construction zone on I-15 at the Beck Street overpass. This one worse than the earlier two, involved multiple cars and most unfortunately, a fatality.

Reports are blaming inattentive drivers for all three crashes. But I drove this stretch on Friday when it was first reconfigured, and I can tell you, it’s more than that. I was extremely attentive, and yet I felt I was driving on a test course designed to not only test my driving skill but to trick me into difficult maneuvers. UDOT needs to relook at how they’ve temporarily configured and marked this stretch. It is extremely confusing. Lanes seem to lead right into cones and walls. Exits and entrances to the freeway are in new and unexpected locations. And I have no idea what the whole purpose is for that funny double-S part, except to give us all a Lagoon-like thrill. It is poorly designed.

Yes, inattentive drivers are going to be in trouble there. But I think much can be done to mitigate the chances of an accident. Another thing that must be stepped up is speed enforcement. Nobody slows down in that zone. If you drive the I-80 construction, you see a lot of enforcement there, and drivers for the most part are adhering to the 55 MPH limit. Not so at Beck Street. I think the problem is that UHP officers’ patrol routes do not cross the county lines and this construction is right on the Davis/Salt Lake county line. I’ve seem them from either direction making their turnarounds and missing this zone altogether. People are driving in excess of 70 MPH in this dangerous zone. UHP needs a more visible presence there and they need to start writing tickets.

And by the way, if I may I add my personal rant, though it’s not important, I do find it irritating. All news reports said yesterday’s accident occurred in “North Salt Lake”. But, in fact, it occurred in “north” (little n) Salt Lake. North Salt Lake (where I live) is an actual town just over the county line in Davis County, though some of our news organizations fail to make that distinction. I’ve ranted about poor misunderstood NSL elsewhere.

Drivers, slow down! The rest of us are doing our best to drive safely, but we are sometimes at your reckless mercy.

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