Roberts (WQOW) - The state patrol and the department of transportation will be making
changes, after three people have died in crashes on I-94.
agencies met yesterday to look at ways they could increase safety on I-94. The
state patrol will be doubling troopers in that area, and more signs will placed
before the construction zones. The state patrol is hoping to alert drivers
earlier of potential traffic backups, so rear-end crashes are less likely to
occur. The DOT says I-94 near Roberts will be back to four lane traffic
sometime within the next couple of days.
Western Wisconsin (WQOW) - It has been a deadly week on I-94: three people have died and three others were hurt in three separate crashes, all within two days.
On Monday, two teens were killed when the SUV they were riding in rear-ended a semi stopped in traffic. Two other teens in the car were hurt, one with life-threatening injures.
Then Tuesday, a woman was critically injured when her SUV went off the road, through the median, and collided with a semi.
And then once again, Tuesday night, a driver was killed when his semi rear-ended another, and then caught fire. The crash happened near Menomonie.
The driver who died was from Minnesota. He was 43. The driver of the other rig, a California man, was not injured.
Now, the State Patrol and the DOT are examining what they can do in light of what's happened this week. There was a meeting today about safety.
"There's a lot of challenges out there. We know that the most dangerous thing you can do in a day is get in your vehicle. Unfortunately it's been more proven this past week then ever before for our area," says Lt. Jeff Lorentz, with the Wisconsin State Patrol.
80,000 cars cross over the St. Croix River bridge on I-94 between Minnesota and Wisconsin every day.
"The volumes that you find during mid-week are the volumes that we had 20 years ago only on Fridays and Sundays. But you're getting the same volume Monday through Thursdays, there's so much traffic out there," says Lt. Lorentz.
And many of those drivers have to snake their way through construction zone after construction zone.
"We have a tremendous amount of construction in the area. You couple that with high volumes, and you're going to see a lot of challenges out there for the drivers," Lt. Lorentz says.
Now, the state patrol and the department of transportation are investigating whether more can be done to prevent crashes like these.
A similar investigation was done back in May, when a 22-year-old was killed near Hammond on I-94.
"We added some signage, we added some patrol, we added those speed indicator signs so that you would know your speed coming into construction zones as kind of a reminder, a mental alert," says Lt. Lorentz.
The state patrol adds patrol shifts every summer, and allows overtime during construction season.
"When I look at the events we've had, we've had more that have occurred outside the construction zones than have occurred inside the construction zones. So why do they happen at milepost 13 and a half? Why do they happen at mile post 41? You might never know the why's of it, but all these things are being investigated," says Lt. Lorentz.
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