Police: Construction zone was 'public safety hazard' before improvements

At least 11 cars were damaged before improvements were made to this bridge construction zone. (Photo: Yorktown Police Department)

YORKTOWN, Ind. (WTHR) - In a local construction zone, some drivers are coping with destruction.

“Tore the right front fender and the front door and the back door off the truck,” said Richard Smith of Yorktown.

He calls what happened to his pickup truck “devastating. Lots of damage.“

Richard Smith with his truck after impact with a construction zone guardrail. (Photo: Yorktown Police Department.)

Smith is just one of the victims.

“We can’t let this continue to happen," said Yorktown Police Chief Todd St. John. "When the second school bus from a visiting town clipped the bridge, I thought we had to do something.”

It started last August during repairs to the Tiger Drive bridge in Yorktown, just north of State Road 32. Vehicles started hitting a temporary guardrail that was supposed to guide cars safely through the temporary lane change.

“I think maybe you had a couple of drivers that were really not paying attention and were going too fast initially but they just never fixed it," St. John said.

After those early crashes, they never fixed the damage to the end of the guardrail

“You can see in this picture they were clearly sticking out. That should not have been there,“ St. John said, showing us a photo.

It was an accident waiting to happen. When construction season resumed last month, so did the wrecks.

It was too much of a public safety hazard, police say.

“You combine all that and you get 11 accidents in a month,“ the chief said.

After nearly a dozen April crashes, St. John went to the town manager, telling him “they can’t get this fixed, we need to close this bridge.“

The town met with contractors who got it fixed. Now there’s a more direct line through the construction zone. Cars still have to operate close to the guardrail, so police encourage motorists to slow down.

“We haven’t had a crash (since the repairs) knock on wood," said St. John.

“They need to get the job done and get the (expletive) off that bridge, pardon my French. That’s the way I feel," said Smith.

The work should be completed in June.

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