DIGGING DEEPER: Dangerous Interchange

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) – Three people have died in two months on the same stretch of road in Allen County.

Indiana State Police say from January 1, 2013 to September 25, 2018 there have been 183 accidents where I-469 meets U-S 24 near New Haven.

58 of those crashes had injuries. That breaks down to an average of 3 crashes every month.

Dwight Tolk has been driving semi trucks for nearly 40 years and drives the I-469 and U-S 24 interchange almost every week.

“It’s especially dangerous for semis,” said Tolk. “You can lose control when you pull off the pavement.”

We also spoke with another semi-truck driver, Orion Phillips.

“I try to avoid it at much as possible.”

Phillips, who calls Michigan home, passes through the New Haven interchange often.

He witnessed the semi that went up in flames in August and called 9-1-1.

“My heart just dropped.”

He says the biggest issue is the congestion.

When the stop light turns green, multiple backed-up cars and semis all try to merge at once.

He says it isn’t just a headache for truck drivers, but downright dangerous.

“So certainly we have analyzed the crash history and that is a little bit higher than other interchanges.”

Nichole Thomas with the Indiana Department of Transportation says they are well aware of the safety concerns on this stretch of road.

“That interchange was built many many years ago and there’s been a huge increase in traffic.”

In light of that huge increase in traffic, Nichole Thomas says INDOT is getting rid of the traffic light and adding two new ramps.

She says INDOT hopes to have that complete by 2020.

Kayla Stewart

Kayla Stewart

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