VERIFY: Have crashes on the I-16, I-75 interchange increased due to construction?
We've reported on the massive I-16, I-75 interchange project that's changing one of our major highways and how it's affecting your commute. Over the last five months, we've noticed what seems to be a large number of accidents on the interchange, but we wanted to verify, are there more accidents on the interchange since construction began in June?
Here are our sources: Captain Brad Wolfe with the Bibb County Sheriff's Office and Bibb County collision reports from 2016 to 2017. Yvonne Thomas compares the numbers and verifies "the hotspots" on the highway.
Our daily routes are changing weekly, and car wrecks seem to happen every day. “There's a change in the flow of traffic because of the construction. Some of the lanes are blocked off,” said Captain Brad Wolfe with the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office. “From 75S to Pierce Avenue, from the split to Spring Street on I-16 East, and from the split to Hardeman Avenue on 75S.”
Those are the hotspots where crashes are more common. Each area happens to be right in the middle of construction. “Since June 1st, 2017 to November 27th, there's been 202 accidents, 97 injuries, and no fatalities,” said Wolfe.
But since the $500 million construction project broke ground in June, have the number of crashes along these sites increased? “It's not really surprising. 200 was a little higher than I expected, but it's not surprising for the amount of traffic in that area,” said Wolfe.
So we compared the collision reports from this time last year until now. When you look at the numbers, they're actually quite similar. From June 2016 to November 2016, there were 203 car accidents reported along the interchange in these areas, but now in 2017, from June to November, there have been 202 accidents reported.
Captain Brad Wolfe with the Patrol Unit says some areas along the interchange are more dangerous because of the original design, not the pending improvements. “No, no, the construction hasn't changed anything, not that we can tell,” said Wolfe. “Because there's a lot of maneuvers to be made in those small areas and there's not a lot of distance to travel across the lanes in time.”
We verified the answer is false. Car accidents have not increased along I-16 and I-75 since construction began.
Kimberly Larson with the Department of Transportation says they believe the number of accidents have not increased because of "13WMAZ's weekly interchange updates, local law enforcement involvement, and plenty of message boards throughout the area."