WisDOT "open" to changes on I-94 construction but say it's "premature"
RACINE COUNTY, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The I-94 construction zone through Racine now has some drivers taking side streets.
"So we don’t get caught in traffic," Matt Del Fava said. "Some of the rocks shooting up at the vehicles too.”
Some say the recent string of major accidents, including a deadly crash involving two semi-trucks Wednesday, are caused by unsafe driving. Others partially blame the construction zone itself.
“Maybe they're doing too much at once," Robin Oster said. "Both making the lanes thinner, and harder for people to get through, especially with all the traffic after work gets out.”
WisDOT says since changing the highway from two to three lanes last year, they’ve seen less traffic and an 18 percent reduction in overall accidents in that construction zone, but a significant increase in single-vehicle accidents.
“It’s a dangerous area," WisDOT spokesperson Michael Pyritz said. "It demands full attention. And it demands you follow the limit.”
Pyritz says they’re performing a balancing act. If they dramatically altered the construction zone, it would take longer to finish.
“That will push back construction by, it could be as much as a year," Pyritz said. "Well, that means, OK, you’re going to be in a construction zone a full year longer.”
The state says drivers should know one out of every four vehicles in that area are trucks, and they’re in the left lane because the right lane is temporary pavement.
“If we were to put trucks on those lanes, we might have pavement failures," Pyritz said.
WisDOT staff are studying data from the area, and are open to changes, but say they can only do so much.
“it’s construction," Pyritz said. "There’s no perfect answer. No matter what we do, there’s going to be challenges.”