Crash brings attention to the need for driver caution in construction zones

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) – A three-vehicle collision on westbound Interstate 70 just north of SE 8th Avenue that tied up traffic Thursday afternoon on Interstate 70 in downtown Topeka drew attention to the need for driver safety in construction zones.

Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper Brock Simone said the crash occurred after a vehicle slowed down to let another vehicle onto the roadway.

“A vehicle was merging on here from 10th Street,” Simone said at the scene. “A black Nissan slowed down to let that vehicle merge on. A blue Toyota Tacoma rear-ended the black Nissan, and then was rear-ended by a silver Buick LaCrosse.”

Two people were taken by ambulance to local hospitals. The driver of the Nissan was transported to St. Francis Hospital, while a passenger in the silver Buick was transported to Stormont-Vail Hospital with minor injuries.

Both were believed to have minor injuries, officials said.

The location where the crash occurred was already down to one lane because of construction on I-70.

Simone said drivers should always be cautious, but especially in construction zones.

“With it being a construction zone, people already need to be aware, because of all the construction workers being out here, outside of vehicles,” Simone said. “When a wreck happens here in a construction zone, it becomes a mess, and then it’s just a matter of time before another wreck happens.

“When you’re driving anywhere, be paying attention, especially in the construction zone.”

More construction is likely starting Aug. 15 in the same area where Thursday afternoon’s crash occurred, as westbound I-70 between SE 8th Avenue and SW Topeka Boulevard in downtown Topeka will be shut down for three weeks to allow crews to complete a patching project on the Polk-Quincy Viaduct.

Detours will be posted for motorists trying to avoid the area.

Simone said motorists wishing to avoid the construction should “plan ahead so you know your alternate routes.”

Simone also reminded motorists to take steps to avoid distracted driving.

“Make sure your cellphone’s not in your hand and you’re not on your cellphone,” he said. “Pay attention to the road.”

Simone also said it’s up to the motorists who are preparing to enter a highway from an on-ramp to yield to traffic already on the roadway.

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