New work zone safety initiative not in place at deadly crash site in DeKalb County

Local News

Several vehicles crashed on Interstate 69 on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020.

DEKALB COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) — At the beginning of the year, the Indiana Department of Transportation launched a new program to improve work zone safety. However, its only been implemented at select work zones so far— not including the work zone in DeKalb County where Wednesday’s deadly crash on Interstate 69 occurred.

According to Scott Manning, the Strategic Communications Director for the Indiana Department of Transportation, the “Protect the Queue Program” enhancements were only “being piloted in urban areas.”

There are plans to change this in the future, though.

“Based on promising results from our projects we’ve been piloting this year, we intend to deploy them on more projects statewide going forward,” said Manning.

Manning described the Protect the Queue Program as a “series of electronic message boards” with warning lights designed to make motorists aware that they need to “be prepared to stop.”

INDOT’s website says trucks with queue message boards will be placed about 1/4 of a mile ahead of a work zone to alert drivers.

Manning also said the Department of Transportation routinely tracks and analyzes all work zone crashes. He said Wednesday’s crash is being looked out now but the full analysis could take up to a few weeks to complete.

In light of Wednesday’s deadly crash on Interstate 69, WANE 15 looked into how many fatal work zone crashes have occurred this year.

Such crashes are down 63 percent from 2019, according to the Indiana Department of Transportation’s database. There were 19 fatal work zone crashes in 2019 and only 7 so far in 2020.

This data provided by INDOT has not been updated with Wednesday’s crash yet.

Monthly work zone crash data for 2020 provided by INDOT.
Monthly work zone crash data for 2019 provided by INDOT.

For more details about the Protect the Queue Program, click here.

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