Evansdale police report increase in accidents on I-380/Hwy 20 - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Evansdale police report increase in accidents on I-380/Hwy 20

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EVANSDALE (KWWL) -

Local first responders are asking drivers to be vigilant -- especially when making your way through construction zones. The Iowa Department of Transportation is about a week and a half into a major project on Interstate 380 from Waterloo to Evansdale.

Doug Taylor drives from Washburn, to Waterloo, to Evansdale, and back every day.

"Both ways each day -- we go east bound, we go west bound," he said.

Construction on I-380/Hwy 20 is making that drive more difficult lately.

"That 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM traffic probably is the worst. Seemingly people forget that it's a fifty-five mile per hour construction zone," said Taylor.

Evansdale Police Chief Kent Smock said, it's not just difficult -- it's dangerous for drivers who aren't paying attention..

"They're having to get over quick, they're having to watch for traffic coming up behind them, and the traffic ahead of them is slower than what they're expecting," he said. "And as heavy a traffic as we're seeing, they're running into the car in front of them, and the car in front of them. So we're having quite a few chain-reaction accidents."

Since the project started last week, Evansdale crews have responded to at least nine accidents.

"On the first day that construction started, we had four," he noted.

Smock said, so far, they've been lucky. No one has been seriously injured in the accidents to which he's responded. But soon, the Iowa DOT is planning to restrict traffic to just the northbound lanes. And Evansdale police, along with several other departments from the county, have a plan in place to make sure they can respond to emergencies quickly, and efficiently.

"We hope that we don't have to use it, but looking at the history of other construction projects across the state, we feel we probably will," Smock said.

Smock said if you do get into an accident -- and no one is injured -- you're encouraged to pull over out of the way of traffic. In the meantime, even when traffic is running smoothly, you'll see a greater police presence.

"We've got the increased patrol there. The Sheriff's office has done the same, as well as the State Patrol," Smock added.

It's going to make for a long summer, but even drivers like Taylor believe the headaches will ultimately be worthwhile.

"Patient people make patient construction workers and make travel on Highway 20 much easier," said Taylor.

The Iowa DOT is monitoring traffic with cameras and in-ground sensors. You can check road conditions before you leave online at 511.org.

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