I-85 Construction Leads to More Tractor Trailer Accidents

The long-term road construction on Interstate 85 south of Atlanta has led to an increase in tractor trailer accidents.

On March 31, both sides of I-85 were shut down in Coweta County after a tanker truck collided with a tractor trailer truck and caught on fire, reports the Athens Banner-Herald.

Apparently, the tires of the tractor trailer slid of the edge of the pavement in the construction zone. The driver overcorrected and collided with the tanker. As a result, the tanker collided with a construction barrier that was in place to protect workers. The tanker trucks fuel tank caught on fire and exploded, and both drivers suffered serious injuries.

Luckily, there were no fatalities in the wreck, and no other vehicles were involved. The accident could have been much worse. A Coweta County high school not far from the scene of the accident was evacuated as a precaution. No students were injured.

Less than a month later, a tractor trailer truck overturned on I-85 southbound at the same location on a Monday morning. The truck, which was hauling double trailers, wrecked just north of Exit 56 (Collinsworth Road), reports the Newnan Times-Herald.

Both wrecks (plus several others) occurred in a two-lane section of the interstate where a road widening continues. In this particular location, there is no concrete barrier on the right-hand side of the road. The dirt shoulder drops off several inches.

The construction work is expected to continue throughout 2009, and I-85 south of Atlanta will remain a danger zone. Use other routes if possible, especially during inclement weather. Rain increases the rate of accidents in this dangerous construction zone.

The speed limit is lower in the construction zone, but many motorists continue to drive at speeds upwards of 70 miles per hour. There are not enough law enforcement officials in the area to effectively enforce the speed limit, and officers have a hard time monitoring and pulling over people in the construction zone.

“Where are [the officers] suppose to sit to run radar? And where are they suppose to pull you over? There is no where to go!” comments one concerned reader at times-herald.com. “The DOT needs to just really get it in gear and finish this job. It has gone on way too long . . . I have gotten to where I just avoid the interstate for about the past year and will continue to do so until the construction is complete. It is just too unsafe.

Another reader, who is a truck driver, referred to the construction zone as the “Death Road” in his comment: “I'm a truck driver that unfortunately must use that same stretch of road at least twice a week. I follow the posted speed +/- 3 mph and am petrified of this area due to 6 inches (if that) available on each side with 4-wheelers weaving in and out of traffic like it's Atlanta Motor Speedway. In the last 6 months, I've only seen 2-3 police patrolling. Trucks unlike cars take almost the whole lane. A slight drift of trailer and disaster can happen. Every state I've traveled in construction zones actually allows for room on each side accept Georgia . . . GET THE DEATH ROAD DONE DOT!”

If you must travel on I-85 south of Atlanta, obey the construction zone speed limits, and keep a safe distance between your vehicle and tractor trailers.

If you've been injured in a tractor trailer accident, call MLN Law at 404.531.9700 to schedule your free consultation.