Construction zone traffic rules to increase near Denver

March 12, 2020 GMT

DENVER (AP) — The Colorado State Patrol and Department of Transportation have increased traffic enforcement along an expansion project on Interstate 25 after a rise in crashes.

Data from the transportation department shows about 390 crashes occurred the year after construction started in central Colorado, which is more than 100 more than the year before, Colorado Public Radio reported Wednesday.

About 66% of those crashes happened when a driver rear-ended the vehicle in front of them, which Colorado State Patrol Maj. Tim Keeton said is caused by speeding, tailgating or a combination of both.

The expansion project started in September 2018 along an 18-mile stretch between Monument and Castle Rock. Construction is expected to conclude in 2022.

The State Patrol has started enforcing more crash-prevention measures, including aerial tracking and lowering the speed limit.

“We’re there to make sure it’s safe for everyone,” said Trooper Josiah Ii, one of many who will track vehicles from the air. “And believe me, we want that road back open and flowing smoothly.”

Pilots also report where crashes occur and help direct law enforcement and first-responders.

The State Patrol has also announced the rush-hour speed limit will be lowered Thursday in the construction zone from 60 mph (97 kph) to 55 mph (89 kph).

“Please, keep an eye out for those signs and follow them,” said Steve Harelson, transportation department chief engineer. “They’re for your safety.”