I-75 to I-70 ramp: Perception not reality as far as number of crashes

Local News
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DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) From 2015 through 2018, there were 25 crashes on the infamous I-75 north to I-70 west flyover ramp. To those caught in the traffic jams or have seen a semi-truck rolled over against the ramp’s outer edge, it seems like hundreds more, but perception isn’t reality. 

“Around 15,000 vehicles use that ramp every day,” Ohio Department of Transportation’s Matt Bruning said. “The ramp itself isn’t dangerous from what we’ve found.” 

The location isn’t a hot spot as far as other highway locations throughout the state, though the crashes that do happen there are a major concern.  

The drivers cited are almost always traveling faster than the recommended speed of 40 MPH, which is posted on a yellow sign as vehicles enter the ramp. Bruning said 70 percent of the crashes on the ramp, the drivers were going over the recommended speed of the ramp.  

  • 19 of the 25 crashes on the ramp were over the recommended speed 

  • Six were tractor trailers (one of which was pulling two trailers), eight were mid-sized vehicles or SUVS, two were full-sized vans and one was a compact car.  

  • Of the 25 crashes, none have resulted in a fatality. One crash resulted in a serious injury, two were minor injuries, only one of which was incapacitating.  

  • No one has been hurt in a crash on the ramp since 2016. 

  • 76 percent of the crashes happened during daylight hours. 

“It causes a thousand other issues” 

Lt. Jeff Kremer of the Ohio State Highway Patrol said the ramp was safe, but the crashes that occur are major concerns. 

“We’ve been fortunate we’ve had minimal injuries,” Kremer said “(Thursday’s crash), if the (semi) was in the other lane he could have overturned on top of someone. 

“It’s a heck of a danger area for first responders. We always try to keep the ramp open. Yesterday the semi happened to lay across all the lanes and the berm. But if the next driver isn’t adhering to warnings, and you’re on the bridge, that’s 90 feet in the air. That’s a sticky situation for tow truck drivers, recovery companies, ODOT people, firefighters and anyone else exposed. There’s nowhere to retreat.” 

Closing the ramp down would seem simple, but that leaves consequences elsewhere with backups, traffic being rerouted and other problems. 

“We’ve had countless crashes on I-70 because of that,” Kramer said. “The effect of the crash is the most frustrating, having to work with other agencies, ODOT and redoing everything temporarily while we clean up someone else’s mess for not paying attention.”  

Currently the 40 MPH speed for the ramp is recommended, not the speed limit. It’s on a yellow sign as drivers enter the ramp and is the guideline for what drivers should be traveling. Making it mandatory and replacing the yellow sign for a white one would mean engaging multiple local, state and federal agencies. 

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