After 2 fatalities in a week, I-84 safety questioned

i84 picWEST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — State Rep. Joe Verrengia (D) wants to talk with the state Department of Transportation about sections of Interstate 84 that run through West Hartford known as the S-curves. These are curvy parts of highway that drivers say are dangerous.

However, Kevin Nursick, spokesperson for the DOT, says it’s careless and distracted drivers who are making it unsafe.

Some drivers who use the stretch of I-84 that runs through West Hartford daily say they feel safe driving through it, however, there have been two fatal accidents on that area of I-84 just this week, prompting Verrengia to call its safety into question.

Some who use that stretch of the highway daily agree that it needs to be studied. “West Hartford center coming to 84 could be dangerous, the way it’s a curve and then people are coming in and if you’re speeding,” said Patrick Nobou of West Hartford.

“It’s kind of brutal to get on,” said Joshua Pizzo, of West Hartford. “Cars whipping by, flying by everyday.”

The state DOT, while agreeing to meet with Verrengia, says it’s the drivers who make that area of I-84 dangerous, not the design of the highway, an attitude some drivers share. “You can’t do much more with the road,” said Steven Audia, of West Hartford. “I mean it’s already how many lanes wide? Already there are plenty of signs. There are flashing LED signs.”

The Department of Transportation released some statistics about the most common causes of I-84 crashes in West Hartford between 2009-2013.

They are as follows:

  • 681 were caused by drivers following other vehicles too closely.
  • 193 drivers losing control of their vehicles.
  • 171 caused by improper lane changes.
  • 136 caused by drivers speeding too fast for conditions.
  • 30 caused by a driver striking an animal or object.

Nursick says the DOT plans to meet with Verrengia in the next week or so to address the safety concerns on I-84.

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