Recent crashes at new I-15 interchange have drivers concerned

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SPANISH FORK — The I-15 interchange with U.S. Highway 6 in Spanish Fork has seen a couple of semitrailer rollovers in the last month. The latest, on Saturday, nearly killed a motorcyclist.

The problem, drivers say, is the new configuration of the off-ramp created during the I-15 CORE project.

Truck driver Alton Bartek drives a Texas-to-Seattle route once a week, and has done so for the past 29 years. He's racked up more than 8 million miles on the roads in and around Utah, including the Highway 6 exit.

The new left-hand curve and stoplight at the interchange recently caught him off guard, he said. And he's not the only one.

In May, a semitrailer rolled, spilling 75,000 pounds of frozen crab. Then on Saturday, another semitrailer failed to navigate the turn and spilled 60,000 pounds of apples. Another motorist wasn't able stop in time and hit a slowing motorcyclist.

"They're just taking for granted their loads, and the height of their loads, and they need to reduce their speed," UHP Sgt. Kellie Oaks said Monday.

Both the accidents closed the exit down for hours, causing a commuter nightmare.

"It really slows people down," Oaks said. "There is no other way for people to get to Carbon County. There is no other way for them to get home."

Plenty of signs warning drivers to slow down have been posted in the area, UDOT spokesman John Gleason said, but some drivers just aren't paying attention.

While crash statistics on this section of the I-15 CORE project aren't available yet, Gleason said "anytime something like this is brought to our attention, we'll definitely take a look at this to see if there is any additional things we can do that will improve the area."

As for Bartek, he said he wants to see the ramp changed back to the way it was. "It should be like it used to be without the light, and it just dropped you off into town," he said.


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