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Colorado’s ‘Road of Death’ to Get Makeover After Crashes

by  on  Car Accidents & Motor Vehicle Collisions

A series of accidents on Interstate 25 in Douglas County have earned it a morbid moniker: “The Road of Death.” Now state officials are making a number of design changes to try to cut down on crashes in the area.

The Colorado Department of Transportation recently announced that it will make a series of improvements to the frontage road adjacent to I-25 in Douglas County, Denver7 reports.

CDOT reportedly plans to add new barriers to separate the frontage road from the interstate, along with warning signs and rumble strips. It has also lowered the speed limit from 55 miles per hour to 45 miles and will remove approximately 11,000 feet of guardrail. The changes are expected to be completed by fall 2023.

The frontage road has seen an increase in traffic over the past few years as more people move to the area and use the road as a commuter route. It runs parallel to I-25 between Castle Rock and Monument. The road serves as an alternative route for drivers who want to avoid the interstate, but it has been the site of numerous crashes.

At least 10 people have been injured in 16 accidents on the frontage road in the last two years, Denver7 reports, citing CDOT data. Speed or alcohol was cited as a factor in at least five of those collisions.

One person was killed in a January crash on the frontage road, according to Denver7. Two teens died and two other people were injured in an August crash near the same spot, in which a suspected drunk driver reportedly slammed head-on into a car full of Castle View High School students.

CDOT has been working to address the safety concerns on the frontage road for some time. In 2017, the agency installed additional warning signs and speed feedback signs, and it increased law enforcement patrols in the area. However, these measures did not have the desired impact, and serious crashes continued to occur.

Local residents told Denver7 that a guardrail installed during the I-25 Gap Project, when a third lane was added to the interstate, poses a safety hazard.

“When they added the third lane there, it brought the interstate much, much closer to this frontage road than what it ever was,” one resident told the news outlet. “So where guardrail is supposed to keep you safe, in this sense, it’s created a huge danger for us all that live down here.”

The apparent decision to remove some of the guardrail is an about-face for CDOT, according to the Denver7 report.

“Emails obtained by Contact Denver7 show community members warning CDOT officials about the ‘very dangerous frontage road’ two years ago,” Jaclyn Allen and Joe Vaccarelli write for the news outlet. “However, CDOT managers responded that the guardrail is ‘valid and necessary’ and that removing it ‘would actually make the roadway less safe.’”

Colorado Speeding Accidents

While CDOT should take every conceivable step to improve driving conditions and cut down on accidents on I-25, drivers also shoulder some of the responsibility. 

At least some of the crashes appear to have involved speeding, which is often a key element in fatal and other serious accidents across the state.

Approximately 240 people are killed annually in speeding-related motor vehicle collisions statewide, according to data compiled by the Colorado Department of Transportation. Speed is a factor in at least 40% of traffic accident fatalities. 

The Fatal Consequences of Drinking and Driving 

Drunk drivers also pose a serious threat to everyone on the road. 

When a person makes the reckless decision to get behind the wheel while intoxicated, he or she is likely to have a slower reaction time, not to mention impaired hand-eye coordination, awareness of surrounding traffic and decision-making. That is a recipe for disaster.

More than 250 people die in impaired driving crashes in Colorado every year, according to data compiled by CDOT. That figure has jumped by about 44 percent since 2019, CDOT says.

Meanwhile, more than 20,000 people are arrested for DUI across the state annually, CDOT data show.

It is not just poor decisions involving alcohol that pose the threat. State officials and local law enforcement officers say they are seeing increasing levels of DUI accidents in which drivers are impaired by marijuana or illegal drugs.

Injured in a Colorado Car Accident? Know Your Rights

Anyone who has been injured in a car accident in Colorado has the right to seek compensation from those responsible for the crash. That includes negligent drivers, defective vehicle manufacturers and other parties, depending on the circumstances. 

Speeding and drinking and driving are choices. Those who make those choices should be held fully accountable for putting everyone else at risk.

The money damages typically available in these cases are intended to help put an injured person back in the financial position that he or she was in before the accident happened. It often includes money for doctors’ bills, missed wages during physical recuperation and any long-term impact on the injured person’s ability to make a living or participate in day-to-day life. 

State law also empowers certain family members to sue for wrongful death in the tragic event that a loved one is killed in an accident. While no amount of money will allow you to go back in time and stop the crash from happening, it can help ease the financial burden that often comes with a crash.

Speak with a Denver Car Accident Lawyer 

If you or a loved one has been injured in a “struck-by” or other crash in Colorado, a Denver car accident lawyer at Levine Law can help you take action. We work tirelessly to help people and families maximize their compensation.

We are pleased to serve clients throughout Colorado, including in Denver, Colorado Springs, Ft. Collins and Loveland. Call us at 303-333-8000 or contact us online to speak with a Denver car accident lawyer.