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Crashes with serious injuries, fatalities increase during I-4 construction

I-4 Ultimate Project is set to be completed in 2021

ORLANDO, Fla.The I-4 Ultimate Project is supposed to bring relief to Central Florida traffic when it's complete, but in the meantime, serious crashes and fatalities have increased along the 21-mile stretch of construction.

It's a troubling thought for drivers like Tonya Brewer.  "It's extremely stressful," Brewer said.

Construction from the I-4 Ultimate Project stretches from Kirkman Road to S.R. 434. People have often complained about the congestion on I-4, but driving it has becoming more dangerous.

 

"I hate it," Brewer told News 6.  "If I don't have to I will not drive I-4.  I will take the long ways," she said.

 

Brewer says it's not just the traffic that unnerves her, it's also the crashes. "It's horrible," she said.

 

According to records from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, in the second full year of I-4 construction crashes actually decreased from the first year from 2,114 to 2,096.

 

However, the number of serious crashes with "incapacitating injuries" jumped from 59 the first year of construction to 88 the second year, a nearly 30 percent increase according to records.

 

Not only have serious injuries increased so have fatalities. Records show in the first full year of construction, there were 6 fatalities, but in the second year, that number nearly doubled to 11.

 

Kim Montes with the Florida Highway Patrol said drivers are to blame. "Drivers continue to drive the manner they did before construction started," she said.

 

Drivers blame the narrow shifting lanes, and newly closed exits.  Montes says the biggest contributor to crashes is distracted drivers going above the 55 mph speed limit.  "If drivers do the basic safety tips of driving on that Interstate, we really would have less crashes up there," she said.

 

The I-4 Ultimate Project is scheduled for completion in 2021.


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