What has ADOT done to prevent wrong-way crashes?

Posted: Updated:
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX -- It's a problem that plagues the Valley: wrong-way drivers.

Since May there have been a total of 13 wrong-way crashes in the Phoenix Metro area. Four of them were deadly, including one that happened in late January near I-17 and Indian School Road.

Megan Lange was killed by an alleged drunken driver while coming home from work just before dawn Jan. 27.

"It's going to take a long time to get past this," Jim Fraizer said.

Fraizer worked side by side with Lange at Phoenix Fire Department Dispatch. He's also her uncle. He says the most difficult part of all this is trying to explain what happened, to her children.

"Watching Miles and Shawn, especially Shawn, asking where his mom is and not being able to find the words to give him an answer," Fraizer said.

Frazier said he was at work early Saturday morning when he heard the call come out for the latest wrong-way crash. Just before 5 a.m. officers responded to Loop 101 near McKellips. Investigators say a person driving the wrong-way crashed into two oncoming vehicles.

"It brought tears to my eyes. It brought back painful memories of the night Megan was taken from us," Fraizer said.

Research shows the Valley locations with the most 911 reports of wrong-way drivers over the past couple years.

They include:

• Interstate 17 and Carefree Highway (State Route 74)

• Loop 101 (Agua Fria) and Thunderbird Road

• Loop 101 (Agua Fria) and Peoria Avenue

• Interstate 10 and Ray Road

• Interstate 10 and Wild Horse Pass Boulevard

• Interstate 10 and Queen Creek Road (State Route 347)

In June A-DOT made several improvements at those 6 intersections including larger "Do Not Enter" signs. Placed below are new "Wrong Way" signs.

Crews also added pavement markers in the shape of large arrows pointing the right way along the exit ramps.

Fraizer said ultimately it's the driver's responsibility to make good decisions before getting behind the wheel. But added some other changes need to be made.

"We need to do more on a state and federal level to stop these drivers. Don't know what that is but you're going to see our faces quite a bit about this issue," Fraizer said.

ADOT officials say they do plan on expanding this project.

An ADOT spokesperson said since the improvements were made at those six intersections last June, to their knowledge there haven't been wrong-way crashes at those locations.

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