I-69 seeing more accidents amid construction delays

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Construction on the future I-69 near Bloomington is coming at an added cost to drivers and insurance companies.

According to the Indiana Department of Transportation, the stretch of Highway 37 between Martinsville and Bloomington, which will become I-69, saw more than 100 more crashes in 2016 than when construction began in 2014.

According to INDOT, there were 240 in 2014. That number ballooned to 354 in 2016.

“There were four lanes, now in some cases there’s only two, but you still have the same amount of traffic. So you’re putting the same amount of traffic in a smaller area, there’s bound to be problems there,” said Indiana State Police Sergeant Curt Durnil.

The increase in accidents is also coming with a price tag to drivers and insurance companies.  If you were to multiply the number of crashes in 2016 by the typical insurance payout for property damage ($3,943), the total would come out to $1,236,522, more than $300,000 extra than in 2014. However, those numbers assume every accident only required the “typical” payout, and they don’t include things like injury claims

ISP Sergeant Curt Durnil says many of those accidents are caused by drivers who exhibit bad habits such as texting while driving. However, he also points out the significance the construction itself plays as a factor.

“Anytime you have more traffic jammed into a smaller space, it’s going to be bad or worse than it was previously,” he said.

Durnil says the most common type of crash ISP sees are rear end accidents. Which are often caused by drivers being distracted or following too close to the car in front of them.

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