Traffic Accidents In A Tulsa Construction Zone On The Rise

Tuesday, July 11th 2006, 5:54 am
By: News On 6

Construction crews and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol are busy working a stretch of I-44 in Tulsa. While the state works to widen the lanes, OHP troopers are cleaning up wrecks.

If you've traveled a stretch of I-44 near Yale, you know some of the turns can get pretty tight. Add tight spaces, 18-wheelers and high speeds, and OHP troopers say it causes one big headache for drivers.

In just over a week, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol has worked 6 serious accidents. One person was killed in one of the crashes. Last Monday, OHP troopers say a driver was killed after he lost control of his car and slid under an 18-wheeler. A passenger in the car was also injured.

Troopers say these types of accidents are more common here for several reasons. One, motorists aren't slowing down. Two, there aren't any shoulders and lanes are tight. That means there is no room for driver error.

Troopers also say drivers need to give each other room. OHP trooper Scott McCreary: “I would say probably half the crashes we're seeing out here in this area deal with commercial motor vehicles, the semi traffic, people are not giving the semis the space they need out here to travel through the construction zone."

Trooper McCreary pointed out that the curves of this highway are changing every week. He says once Oklahoma Department of Transportation crews finish a section, the road changes.

Some drivers, who think they know the highway, don’t realize it's changed. Troopers say if drivers can avoid this area of I-44 at Yale, do so.