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Police: Bad driving linked to construction zone crashes

Police: Bad driving linked to construction zone crashes

MADISON COUNTY, Idaho - After two big accidents happened near the same construction zone on the same day, viewers have been asking if those crashes have anything to do with the road work.

Idaho State Police, which is partnering with the Idaho Transportation Department to keep the area safe, says the accidents are just an anomaly.

Traffic along U.S. 20 south of Rexburg was stopped for hours on Tuesday, thanks to two big accidents.

Both crashes happened near the same construction zone, which stretches from milepost 327 to 332. Neither of them should have happened in the first place, but ISP Lt. Chris Weadick said it's not because of the road blocks.

"What we were seeing was a properly marked construction zone out here, but we're seeing poor driving habits," he said.

In one accident, police say a drunk driver rear-ended another vehicle just outside the construction zone.

The second crash took a semi off the road after police say a driver was distracted on his cell phone and rear-ended the trailer.

"The Transportation Department is really aware of the dangers out there," Weadick said.

One could argue both crashes were just a big coincidence, but troopers who actually tend to these crashes will tell you.

"Anything that can possibly put you in danger on a normal road is going be accentuated in a construction zone," said Trooper Peter Sibus, as he drove through the construction zone.

"In construction zones, there's just no room for error," Weadick said. "You have a very narrow lane of travel, you have candlestick cones that are up and a lot of times you just don't have a lot of room."

ITD is making some changes to keep the area safer. Much of the construction is being done overnight, instead of during the day when traffic can be heavier. They also plan on setting a 24-hour, 55 mile-per-hour speed zone in the area, instead of lowering it from 65 mph throughout the day.

Transportation officials don't know when the speed zone change will take effect.

Between both of those accidents, no one was hurt.

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