New Traffic Barrier In Place After Several Vehicles Launch Off Section of I-15 in Nephi
NEPHI, Utah – A new traffic safety barrier is now in place after several vehicles have launched off of I-15 in Central Utah, over the last few years.
It’s a section of the interstate near Nephi that has been the location of numerous crashes: from semi-trucks barreling off the freeway, narrowly missing homes, to cars rolling down the embankment, landing in back yards.
The people in those homes say the freeway fix has been a long time coming.
“The semi that almost hit our house was pretty frightening,” said Annalee Dinkel, standing in her back yard, looking up at I-15 30 feet above.
Two years ago, she was shaken awake by the noise when a northbound semitrailer lost control, crossed the median and plunged into her yard. Their yard had not been planted with sod, and Dinkel believes the semi would have hit their home had it not been for the mud in the yard.
“He lost control of the wheel and just came flying down,” she said.
After that crash, and a couple of others in their yard and others nearby, she says she was filled with fear.
“I was worried, like all the time,” she said. “We were going to move actually, and then the state promised us protection.”
After about a half dozen crashes, in recent years, and requests to UDOT, the state installed 500 feet of cable barrier in the southbound lanes several weeks ago.
“We’ve seen some 18-wheelers go off the side there,” said John Gleason, a UDOT spokesman.
Total cost for the project: $67,000.
“We wanted to install a cable there as a way to increase safety and maybe provide peace of mind to the folks who live there.”
UDOT said there is nothing unusual about that interstate straightaway, aside from the fact that there had been four crashes in four years, in which vehicles left the roadway.
A couple of crashes in the same spot may be an anomaly, said Gleason. But, after every crash, he said, they took a look to see if there was an engineering solution.
“When you have three or four, you have to start looking at it as there’s something that needs to be done,” said Gleason.
“It’s a huge concern, and we still think about it,” said Chris Memmott, who has had a couple of crashes in his yard, and first tipped us off to the problem several years ago.
He’s not just worried about his family’s safety, he’s worried about the safety of the motorists. He believes the cable barrier can be a life-saver for both.
“It’s going to definitely be a help for not only us, but the folks traveling by,” said Memmott.
“We’re thankful because this has been a long time coming,” said Dinkel.
They were also thankful KSL shed light on the problem.
“We wanted to be responsive and provide a solution here for safety,” said Gleason.
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