Crashes On Stretch Of I-94 Bring Traffic To Standstill Almost Daily

Topic 25538 | Page 1

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Marc Lee's Comment
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With summer driving season about to begin, one stretch of Interstate 94 has become a crash zone.

Updated: 2:21 PM CDT May 10, 2019 Kent Wainscott Reporter - WISN 12 RACINE, Wis. —

With summer driving season about to begin, one stretch of Interstate 94 has become a crash zone.

"Oh, it's pretty horrible. The traffic gets backed up a lot coming through here," delivery driver Todd Toombs said.

It's become an almost daily occurrence in the 22-mile work zone from northern Kenosha County up to southern Milwaukee County.

In just the first four months of this year, there were 155 crashes on that stretch -- an average of more than one per day -- often bringing the freeway traffic to a standstill.

"It usually backs you up a good hour out of your time," Toombs said.

With concrete barricades often lining the traffic lanes, "There is definitely no room for error," Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling said. "When we do get a fender bender or we do get a stalled motorist up there, it will back traffic up for miles."

Schmaling said distracted driving and speeding are the biggest culprits.

"People are still flying through there at 80 mph on their cellphone," Schmaling said.

The most common ticket his deputies write is for driving 20 mph over the work zone speed limit, which is a $414 fine.

Most agree that it's bad driving that causes the problems in most cases, but there are some contributing factors, such as the number of ramps that have been closed in the area.

Four separate exits are closed to southbound traffic.

"There aren't many exits these days, and there's no place to pull over should you have a problem," Schmaling said.

As a result, if you find yourself in the middle of one of those traffic jams, there’s no way out, truck driver Ricky Buchanan told WISN 12 News.

"Oh, yeah, I've been stuck before," he said.

It's likely to get worse as summer travel season ramps up on this main route between Wisconsin and Chicago.

The Wisconsin Department of Tourism told WISN 12 News, 24 percent of all day trips and 19 percent of overnight visitors to the state last year were from Illinois, saying the road work will slow them down but probably won't keep them away.

"I try to time it around odd hours when there's not a heavy traffic flow," said Lynn Dinovo, of Chicago.

For those who have to drive it every day, avoiding the backups can become a game of roadway roulette.

To put this in perspective, the number of crashes in the first four months of this year was 14 more than a similar time frame at the height of the Zoo Interchange Project.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

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Noob_Driver's Comment
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Constantly going through there on the way up to miller or richfield. It doesnt help when they want all trucks in the far left lane and you gotta fight your way over there either. Coming west through chicago just to finally get in that mess is 4 to 5 hours of madness.

PackRat's Comment
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That is one of the worst construction areas I’ve driven through in the US, and I agree with a lot of the points made in the article. I still want to see bigger penalties for those that blatantly disregard the safety rules, especially in work zones. A $414 fine for 20 mph over the limit is big, but not high enough for me. I’d like to see this raised to $1000 for a first offense, second offense $2500 and loss of license for six months. Third time would be a mandatory 30 days in jail and you forfeit the vehicle. No plea bargains, no suspended sentences, no community service crap. I’d like to see someone explain to me just how important it was to send that text, or speed through a construction zone because they were late for work, after they run a worker over. I get really hot over distracted driving (spelled IDIOT) and have zero sympathy for anyone that does it.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
millionmiler24 (CRST Amba's Comment
member avatar

That is one of the worst construction areas I’ve driven through in the US, and I agree with a lot of the points made in the article. I still want to see bigger penalties for those that blatantly disregard the safety rules, especially in work zones. A $414 fine for 20 mph over the limit is big, but not high enough for me. I’d like to see this raised to $1000 for a first offense, second offense $2500 and loss of license for six months. Third time would be a mandatory 30 days in jail and you forfeit the vehicle. No plea bargains, no suspended sentences, no community service crap. I’d like to see someone explain to me just how important it was to send that text, or speed through a construction zone because they were late for work, after they run a worker over. I get really hot over distracted driving (spelled IDIOT) and have zero sympathy for anyone that does it.

I am totally with ya on this also. 😜

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
G-Town's Comment
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I gotta agree with Pack Rat (as I often do). There is way too much negligence in construction zones. As if they don’t exist and the added danger is a facade.

I am ultra conservative through any construction zone.

Noob_Driver's Comment
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I have a sneaky suspicion the whole Milwaukee/ chicago corridor is just going to get alot worse in the coming months. As terrible as Chicago is there really isn't much construction and i think the snow might be finally over so the orange barrrels should be sprouting soon.

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

I have a sneaky suspicion the whole Milwaukee/ chicago corridor is just going to get alot worse in the coming months. As terrible as Chicago is there really isn't much construction and i think the snow might be finally over so the orange barrrels should be sprouting soon.

That would imply it was good before. These areas have been a mess since before I started driving, and I see no sign of it ending anytime soon. More people with more vehicles means more congestion. I just get in a mindset that whenever I’m going through the area it’s going to be bad. Anytime I get a smooth trip through it, I feel like I just received a bonus of some sort. I still prefer driving up there than down south in the Atlanta area.

Bruce K.'s Comment
member avatar

Something that has irritated Wisconsin residents for years are the Illinois tolls, or as many call them, the "Ill Annoy" tolls. We had relatives in Pekin, IL, and I still remember my father grumbling about the tolls whenever we went to visit. (Of course, my father was so tight that only dogs could hear him fart). Before I got into trucking, I was part of the Wisconsin faction that wanted tolls specifically targeted at the hoards of Illinois residents who come north to Wisconsin in the summer as tourists and to their vacation homes. But now I question that thinking, because trucking companies don't need additional tolls to pay. Maybe we can just figure out a way to charge tolls on passenger cars with Illinois plates.

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