ROAD TO ZERO

String Of Semi-Truck Rollovers Leads To Safety Concerns At Major Junction

Apr 26, 2019, 6:37 PM | Updated: 6:40 pm

SUMMIT COUNTY, Utah — Several semis rolled over in a span of several days earlier this month at a major interstate junction in northern Utah. There are sharp curves at Echo Junction and UDOT has studied the problem and plans safety improvements in the next few months.

The problem area is on I-84 eastbound approaching the junction with I-80, known as Echo Junction.

As motorists close in at 70 mph, the safe posted speed on the ramp drops to 45 miles per hour for eastbound motorists and 35 mph for westbound traffic. Despite all of the signage, some truckers just aren’t cutting their speed fast enough for the curves.

“It is an area that we see people driving a little bit too fast,” said John Gleason, a UDOT Spokesman.

Three weeks ago, three semis rolled and crashed in a span of five days on those sharp curves.

According to the Utah Highway Patrol, at least one of those crashes was due to excessive speed, another happened when a car cut off the big rig. In five years, UDOT has seen one semi rollover each year.

“Nothing like like what we saw earlier on this month,” said Gleason.

“Over the years, there’s been a lot of crashes there,” said Tyler Rowser, who responds to those crashes as a firefighter with the North Summit Fire District.

He grew up near the junction, and says there were even more crashes in the 80s and 90s.

“I saw it constantly there,” he said. “It was kind of the joke when we would get up for school: is there a semi crash, or not?”

That was before the state put in warning signs.

“That seemed to reduce it,” said Rowser. “But, we’re still getting crashes on too much of a regular basis.”

We took a ride on the ramps ourselves. The curves are sharp. But, it’s a safe drive at the posted speed, and there are multiple signs warning drivers about the quick drop in speed.

“Too many vehicles that have taken these curves too fast, taken ramps too fast that have unfortunately paid the price,” said Gleason.

So, UDOT plans to put in new signage alerting motorists about the quick drop in the speed limit.

“The speed limit is 35, your speed is this, and it will be flashing if you’re going to fast,” said Gleason.

UDOT said that signage should be installed by October.

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String Of Semi-Truck Rollovers Leads To Safety Concerns At Major Junction