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TAYLORSVILLE — The Utah Department of Transportation said it will shut down east-west traffic on 6200 South at Bangerter Highway due to a rise in crashes caused by drivers speeding and running red lights.
The intersection will close at 7 p.m. Monday.
UDOT is in the process of rebuilding the intersection into a freeway-style interchange. But officials said there has been a serious problem with speeding and drivers running red lights during construction.
"Over the last month, we've been averaging a crash every other day," said UDOT spokesman John Gleason.
When construction is complete in November, Bangerter Highway traffic will flow over the intersection, eliminating the traffic stop. But during construction, there's a lot of activity in and around the intersection every day.
"The work zone is a safe work zone," said Gleason. "But we're seeing these crashes happen time and time again. So sometimes we have to go above and beyond the normal standards to ensure safety."
Since July 3, there have been 25 crashes at this intersection, according to the Taylorsville Police Department. Eighteen of those crashes (72%) were caused by drivers running red lights and slamming into other cars.
"We've had officers out here five and six hours on a couple of the wrecks," said Chief Brady Cottam with the Taylorsville Police Department. "Even if there weren't major injuries, a lot of damage."
The construction zone speed limit is 45 mph. But most cars are traveling faster than that.
Over the last month, we've been averaging a crash every other day.
–John Gleason, UDOT
"I think people have a little anxiety when it comes to a construction intersection. They feel like, if I don't get through this late, right now, I'm going to be stuck for a long time," he said. "So they push it a little bit sometimes."
So, UDOT will close east-west traffic on 6200 South Monday night. It will remain closed through November, when construction is scheduled to wrap up.
"It's all because of poor driving behavior," Gleason said. "It's because of people running red lights, speeding — those things that you definitely shouldn't do in a work zone."
Bangerter Highway will remain open in both directions. The traffic signal at 6200 South will be removed permanently, and drivers on Bangerter will no longer have to stop at 6200 South.
But, motorists can still turn right between the highway and 6200 South. So, that's good news for those drivers. But those who regularly drive east-west on 6200 South will have to go to 5400 South or 7000 South for east-west travel.
"There's a lot of work happening out there, changing configurations, it's important that people slow down and obey that reduced speed limit in the construction zone," said Gleason.
Construction on that intersection and the ones at 104 South and 126 South will all be wrapped up for the holiday shopping season in November.