Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Will officials examine rash of major I-94 crashes, Milwaukee-IL state line?

[6/21/19 update]: A post-crash WisDOT assessment that standard protocols had been followed suggest the agency is out-of-touch with drivers' perceptions that the area is dangerous. I stand by my call for a federal safety investigation, below - - and before the next several crash.
Wednesday's multi-vehicle, multi-fatality crash on I-94
Interstate 94 marker
in the Racine-Kenosha area is not the first major traffic incident there in the last few months, especially involving big trucks.

Will authorities investigate to see if there is a pattern beyond driver error? 

The road system there is congested because of Foxconn-related roadwork. 

Are there construction related design factors involved, for example? Is the signage adequate? Who will pose deeper-dive questions - - the National Transportation Safety Board could - - as it has done recently in other serious highway crashes - - - - given the results of just this quick review of reported incidents, including:

Today, June 19:
Two semis catch fire in crash that closes I-94 in Racine County; at least two killed, three injured

May 14:
Three people injured after crash involving semi
Three people were injured following a crash involving two sport utility vehicles and a semi with a tanker trailer. It happened around 2:40 p.m. on I-41/I-94 near 2 Mile Road in the Village of Yorkville. 
December 17:
I-94 Shut Down Over Serious Crash: Report
November 18:
Semi fire snarls traffic on I-94 NB at WIS 142 in Kenosha County
KENOSHA COUNTY — All lanes on northbound I-94 were temporarily shut down at Highway 142 Thursday morning, Nov. 15 following a semi fire. As of 11:30 a.m. one lane has reopened.
Multiple additional crashes reported, here. 


Anonymous said...

The signage is inadequate in giving enough advance warning of narrowing lanes/lane closure. This is combined with some of the construction area involving travel in extremely uneven lanes and sometimes crossing those lanes. This is particularly true near Ryan Road on the east bound side. Likewise with the stretch between Layton and Ryan Road in both directions. This inadequate signage/guidance is especially bad at night and at other times of reduced visibility such as rain. When traveling in these very narrowed lanes in Racine/Kenosha Counties at night when it's raining it is nearly impossible in some of the areas to see any of the lane markings or tell how close to the barrier wall you are or the guardrail on the right hand side. Other construction zones I've driven in have reflectors/lights that are mounted on the sides of the barriers and guardrails so that this is far less of a problem. I do not know why we don't have them here other than possibly ignorance. I realize that some of these accidents are daytime but I'm pointing out what I see as deficiencies when I drive that area. Illinois does a way better job of construction marking and signage/control for lane reductions/changes. It likewise would not be a bad idea to reduce the posted speed limit to 50 or 55 through that area especially when the inadequate signage is causing people to react to needed lane changes etc. at a point much closer to the actual lane reduction. I see people have a delayed reaction all the time and then at the last minute having to try and make an emergency merge into the next lane while everybody is doing 60mph. Slow down everybody and give it more time. Apparently we have enough money for Foxconn but not enough for some more signs and better markings.

WDW said...

RE: MJS story on the I94 fatal accident.

I was struck, and later dumbfounded, by the comment in the MJS story of the DOT's Mr. Pyritz: “...the speed limit was lowered from 70 mph to 60 mph — a standard 10-mph reduction —“

This “standard” makes no sense. The speed limit should be determined by conditions of the road in the consturctiion zone. If the construction were in the city of Milwaukee, where the freeway speed limit is 55, then the construction area speed limit would be 45. That seems a lot more sensible. Mindlessly reducing the speed by 10 mph gives no consideration to the actual conditions on the specific project. I can see how applying the simplistic "reduction by ten" does make it easy for the DOT. Not so good, however, for the drivers and their safety.

I think someone; the DOT, the contractor, the State Police, are not looking out for our safety on this project.