I-70 crash numbers rise near busy construction zone

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GREENFIELD, Ind. — As construction continues on I-70 in Hancock County, INDOT is pleading with people to please slow down and pay attention.

The stretch of road along the construction site has become a hot spot for accidents, some which can back up traffic for hours.

”Please just pay attention and pay attention to that speed limit,” said Mallory Duncan, director of communications for INDOT.

Greg Duda, the public information officer with Hancock County 911, said crashes are definitely up since this time last year.

From June 2, 2021 to September 29, 2021, there have been 159 total incidents on I-70 between MM 108 and MM 113. 66 of those were accidents and eight of those accidents involved injuries.

”There’s really no reason to hit the car in front of you other than you weren’t paying attention,” Duda said.

Right now, construction crews are working to resurface I-70 Eastbound, moving traffic to a single lane both ways on I-70 Westbound.

”There is always activity going on, it’s those big ones that close it for several hours that we want to try and avoid getting people trapped in,” Duda said.

Duda said the numbers add up to a crash in the construction zone about every three days, with mile marker 111 being the main area of trouble.

”It’s not at a point you would think where everyone is coming to a merge, it’s actually inside the zone,” Duda said.

On Wednesday, Hancock County first responders dealt with two serious semi crashes on I-70. One in the morning, one in the afternoon, but both slowing traffic for hours.

”There are so many signs out there, there are so many flashing lights and things to get your attention,” Duncan said.

She said they went above and beyond with the safety measures on this project so she’s asking people to please pay attention to them.

”They’re not just out there for aesthetic purposes, we don’t just put them out there for no reason,” Duncan said. “And if they are flashing and saying slow or stopped traffic then there is slow or stopped traffic in the zone.”

Duncan said they are in the final phase of the project meaning the final weeks of drivers having to deal with this traffic headache. All she’s asking is people avoid what is the main cause of the crashes in the first place: distracted driving.

”We’re just saying throughout that entire zone please just pay attention and pay attention to that speed limit,” she said.

Duda said a driver’s best bet is just to avoid the construction altogether if they can.

Duncan said the project is expected to finish in mid-November.

Duda said the Hancock County 911 Center has a new text service so someone can get traffic alerts for that stretch of I-70 sent right to their phone. Just text “I70Hancock” to 226787 for those updates.

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