UHP troopers targeting speeders in I-80 construction zone
December 1st, 2008 @ 6:03pm
By Jed Boal and Andrew Adams
The state spent a lot of time and money this year to slow down speeders in Salt Lake's Interstate-80 construction zone. More than 1,000 motorists paid the penalty, but drivers still have not slowed down.
On I-80, unless you're stuck in traffic, chances are a speeder is poised to pass. "It's frustrating not to not have them slow down a little bit. Unfortunately, it's the people who pay for it in the end," said Utah Highway Patrol spokesman Cameron Roden.
Speed enforcement on I-80 in the 2-mile construction zone has done little to reduce speeds to the posted 55 miles per hour. The UHP says people regularly cruise at 65 miles per hour and much faster. "In excess of 90 miles per hour in that area," Roden said.
Since March, UHP troopers have written around 1,300 speeding tickets -- double fines because it's a work zone. "Some of that has to do with the new roadway they're driving on looking like they can go a little bit faster, but it is still under construction," Roden said.
The Utah Department of Transportation has spent more than $55,000 to pay for extra shifts for troopers to catch speeders.
"Right now, our workers are working pretty safely. Right now, our concern is the commuters themselves, because they're still choosing to speed, tailgate one another and cut in front of one another," UDOT spokesman Adan Carrillo said.
Most of the traffic is already on new pavement. In two weeks, the rest will shift onto the new surface.
UDOT plans to continue to pay for extra patrols on I-80 through a discretionary speed enforcement fund. "They still need to respect the 55-mile-per-hour limit, and we're still going to be partnering with UHP to make sure we enforce those limits," Carrillo said.
Any crash in the work zone can snarl traffic for hours. Fortunately, there have been few serious crashes during the reconstruction.