Accidents Piling Up At Santa Fe/I-25 Construction Zone

DENVER (CBS4) – Accidents are piling up near a busy stretch of Interstate 25.

The Colorado Department of Transportation is completely rebuilding the I-25 interchange at Santa Fe Boulevard in Denver and the accident rate is way up on northbound Santa Fe between Mississippi to Alameda.

It’s only a little over a mile, but the stretch of South Santa Fe features narrowed down lanes, twisting turns and speed reduction signs that cut posted speeds almost by half and are often ignored, according to CDOT.

CBS4 compiled crash statistics with help from the Traffic Division of the Denver Police Department. In the 5 months before construction started there were 106 accidents. But during the 5 months after work began accidents jumped more than 27 percent to 135.

“My youngest daughter just drove through this work zone last week and she said it is scary,” CDOT Chief Engineer Tim Harris said.

Harris says photo radar units were brought in by Denver in an effort to slow down traffic. More signage has been installed, and so have crash-absorbing barrels.

Police breakdown accidents by category. Hit-and-runs were up after the road work began, and so were DUIs — both drugs and alcohol.

Interestingly, the only thing down was crashes involving police vehicles. There was one before construction, but none after the project started.

One obvious issue is the required merge right for anybody trying to load onto I-25 northbound. Drivers not used to the construction zone are required to think fast.

But Harris doesn’t call the construction zone an “accident waiting to happen.”

“I don’t think you can say that. I think you can say a lot of our big projects do have additional challenges, and especially as the traffic volume increases, you have more accidents,” Harris said.

The Santa Fe interchange construction project won’t be finished until July of 2013.

  • gb

    As one can see in the picture attached to this article, CDOT has put the sign indicating which lane you should be in for Santa Fe vs. I25 beyond the point where the lanes split. Brilliant!

    • Anne Lund


      • Common Cents

        Wow, way to think this one out. You two must think in a vacuum, as though the pictured sign is the only sign in this whole construction zone. Maybe if you stopped texting and slowed down you would notice the two green signs (just as large if not larger than the orange one posted) previous to this location indicating both the approaching junction with northbound I-25 and the proper lanes to access both northbound I-25 and Santa Fe. Maybe those are like the speed limit signs, you know, they don’t mean anything. Furthermore, let’s say you were familiar with this interchange previous to construction, (which I would take a wild and conservative guess and say at least 51% of people driving this area today are) what has changed? The right lane becomes a dedicated on ramp for northbound I-25 both before construction, and currently with construction. Why would you assume otherwise? To think the placement of this particular sign is the cause of all or even some of the 29 additional accidents, to me seem doubtful. I believe the problems are created by drivers not reducing their speeds (as necessary to maneuver this detour) and distractions commonly associated with today’s driving, all in an area where you cannot have either. I know no one at CDOT nor do I have any affiliation with CDOT, but I believe this area was messy to begin with, and I will slow down and take some headache now knowing this is better for everyone in the long run. So let’s get real and not blame a singular sign! Slow down for your safety and the safety of the workers.

  • Laughing At Your Wrecked Car

    I drive my work truck through here daily. Not only is it an accident waiting to happen. It’s also the morons that have to be fast and just have to be in front of the car next to them. God forbid you have to wait behind 2 more cars than you wanted because that might hold you up a whole whopping 10 seconds to get through it. And those are usually the idiots that cause or are involved in the accidents. And when it does happen to them I laugh and keep going. Not wanting to wait just caused you to wait several hours if not days thanks to a hospital visit and no longer having a drivable car. Need MORE undercover cops to stand by and nab those kinda idiots not just the ones whole blow through the construction zone at higher speeds than posted. Double fines have obviously not woke some people up. Maybe they should revise that law to a 5x higher fine and 10 days in cell mandatory. Guarantee it will slow people down then.

  • RM

    I suppose next month you will do yet another story about how unfair photo radar is, when this clearly illustrates the need to employ measures to slow traffic down for SAFETY.

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