ST. GEORGE — Over 40 crashes in the Virgin River Gorge have been attributed to drivers not paying attention to slowing or stopped traffic caused by the latest round of roadwork.
Starting in May, the Arizona Department of Transportation began work on the rehabilitation and repair of the decks of Bridges 2, 4 and 5 between miles markers 13 and 16. During this time, there have been 43 reportable crashes related to the construction zone, according to the Arizona Department of Public Safety.
The crashes are typically the result of someone failing to slow or stop with the traffic ahead of them, Arizona DPS Sgt. John Bottoms told St. George News Tuesday as he consulted a recent report with statistics related to the Interstate 15 bridge work and traffic incidents.
Despite the signage warning drivers of oncoming roadwork and even a recently installed cue warning system on northbound I-15 alerting drivers of slow or backed up traffic miles in advance, some people just don’t pay attention and end up rear-ending the vehicles ahead of them, Bottoms said.
“We also see people speeding 20-40 mph (over the speed limit) through the construction zones,” Bottoms said, adding that troopers see people speeding through other sections of the gorge on a regular basis as well.
Conversely, Bottoms said, some motorists will go half that speed – or slower – due to being overly cautious or actually wanting to make the driver’s behind them “suffer and wait in traffic” like they had to.