Major construction zone becoming scene of increasing accidents

NEWPORT NEWS, Va (WAVY) – The construction for a wider Interstate 64 in northern Newport News has become the scene of several accidents.

The Virginia Department of Transportation tells WAVY.com since the project began in September, there have been nearly 90 incidents including breakdowns and crashes near the construction site. However, officials say most of the accidents could have been prevented.

“We need them to slow down and that’s the big part of it,” James Stanek, the Incident Management Coordinator said.

Currently, the road starting in northern Newport News shrinks from four lanes to two. It causes huge traffic problems for drivers heading west toward Williamsburg and Richmond. VDOT is expanding the roadway to ease traffic congestion and reduce the number of accidents in the area. While the work is being done, the road will be narrowed to a single-lane during the overnight hours, making it sometimes a recipe for disaster when drivers aren’t watching the roadways carefully.

“Watch what’s going on around you. Don’t be like on your cell phone. Don’t be texting and if you can just get through that work zone safely than you can go on your way,” Stanek said. “It’s up to the public to be safe. Move over and obey the law and we need more people to move over and obey the law.”

Thursday morning, the work zone was the scene of a deadly accident. State Police say 69-year-old William Robinson of Staunton, died on impact after the tractor-trailer he was driving lost control, overturned and hit several trees. The crash originated from a 2009 International tractor-trailer running into a parked truck owned by VDOT in the construction zone.

“It could have been prevented,” Stanek said.

The construction project is scheduled to last for two years. Once completed, the stretch of I-64 which is currently under construction between Jefferson Avenue and Yorktown Road will have an extra lane and shoulder in both directions.

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