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3 nights of crashes close I-70 EB east of Indianapolis

GREENFIELD, Ind. (WISH) — The right lane of eastbound I-70 near Greenfield is closed for construction, and traffic starts to bottleneck miles before the construction area east of Indianapolis.

A spokesperson for Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) told News 8 on Thursday that more than a dozen crashes have happened since the construction project started. 

A picture of a semitruck on fire was the result of a crash that started the week. On Tuesday night, four semitractor-trailers and a pickup truck crashed near the construction, and, on Wednesday night, three more semitractor-trailers tangled. The consecutive days of crashes closed the interstate for hours.

Traffic on I-70 eastbound starts to back up 3 miles before the right lane is closed. At midmorning Thursday, the interstate was clogged with semis for as far as the eye could see. A smashed guard rail, twisted steel and a broken support pole littered the side of the interstate.

“We’ve had a number of crashes over the past couple of days there,” said Mallory Duncan, a spokesperson for INDOT.

Traffic on Thursday moved along a pretty decent pace coming into Hancock County, but, just past the Greenfield exit, the brakes lights come on. Dan Reynolds was forced to stop at the first and only rest area in the construction zone to let his dog stretch its legs. Reynolds is from Oklahoma and has been on I-70 most of the day.

“It is the worst I’ve hit from Oklahoma City to here,” he said.

He said traffic was stopped completely for about 45 minutes, contributing to a potentially dangerous construction zone.  

“It would be nice if all the trucks were kept in one lane and the cars in another lane, but I don’t know how they would do that. .It’s just too much. Whenever I stop, I have an 18-wheeler 3 feet off my rear bumper,” Reynolds said. 

INDOT has supervisors drive the construction zone on a regular basis to look for ways to improve the safety of the route. Leading into the area, more than 30 signs warn drivers of slow and stopped traffic. But, many drivers don’t yield to the signs, News 8 found in its Thursday driver. Drivers were all too willing to rush up along the right lane and try to squeeze in at the last minute, which causes other drivers to slam on their brakes and creates a ripple effect for everyone else.  

INDOT says they are adding more warning signs to the area, and the construction zone is patrolled by at least two police officers during most of the day. 

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