JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)– With a new, second, runaway truck ramp in the planning stages, the Colorado Department of Transportation is seeking input from truckers on whether the ramp should be on the right or left-hand side of I-70. Already more than 1,000 truckers have been answering survey questions.
This goes back to April 2019 when a truck with no brakes passed the existing runaway truck ramp. What happened next was horrific. The truck plowed into stopped traffic on I-70 near Colorado Mills, killing four people and injuring another 10.
Now CDOT is taking steps to prevent it from happening again.
Engineer Kevin Brown explained, “If the first ramp doesn’t catch them, the second ramp would provide an additional safe haven for a runaway truck.”
They are planning a second runaway truck ramp, lower in Mount Vernon Canyon between the Morrison and C-470 exits with the left side of the road preferred.
CBS4 spoke with truck drivers at the TA Travel Center in Wheat Ridge.
One driver who declined to give his name said, “All your slow traffic is on the right, your faster traffic would be on the left.”
That truck driver says if you lost control of your vehicle, you would want to be in the left-hand lane. That’s where the driver was at one point. But not all truckers CBS4 spoke with would agree with a left exit.
Laura Sites, with two dogs in her cab, said right is best, “Right hand because trucks are usually only allowed in the right two lanes.”
The CDOT lefthand runaway ramp would have a high barrier to separate the eastbound runaway ramp and traffic, with a Nascar-style fence on the top.
Trucker Shawn Miller was skeptical, “We’ve got barriers and different safety features in the middle, but when you talk about a semi they are not going to stop 80,000 pounds.”
CDOT believes it will. The state will also shorten the existing ramp to give truck drivers more time to spot it in order to exit. No one wants to see another crash like what happened before.