DENVER (CBS4) – Officials hope new signs and road markings on E-470 will save lives by preventing more drivers from going the wrong way down the tollway.
In the last 12 months officials say at least 24 drivers have wound up going the wrong way.
Last year a woman police say was elderly went the wrong way on E-470 in heavy fog and crashed into the car of a father of two. Both drivers died.
Neil Thomson, the director of engineering for E-470, told CBS4 the roadway needs to be safer, particularly at night.
“These incidents involve either elderly or alcohol-impaired drivers, and it’s typically between 11 p.m. and 4 or 5 a.m. in the morning,” Thomson said.
New painted reflective arrows will be painted on all 36 off-ramps as part of what is a $150,000 project. It’s hoped that they will catch the attention of drunk drivers who often have trouble with their focus.
“Alcohol-impaired drivers tend to focus down on the pavement in front of their vehicle. By putting these signs at a lower level hopefully they will see the additional signs,” Thomson said.
Flashing “wrong way” signs will be also be added that are lower down than the existing ones. That should help prevent drivers from mistakenly trying to enter the highway on the ramps at night.
E-470 officials say transportation leaders in other cities, including Dallas, have seen some success with similar improvements. They said the changes are not an exact science, though, and they could make some more improvements in the future.