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Another interstate construction wreck sends two to hospital

By Staff
ANOTHER CONSTRUCTION ACCIDENT A two-vehicle accident on Interstate 20/59 west of Meridian sent two people to the hospital Tuesday and backed up traffic for more than a mile. Photo by Paula Merritt / The Meridian Star
By Fredie Carmichael / staff writer
May 29, 2002
For the third time in less than a week, an accident occurred on Interstate 20/59 near road construction work. Tuesday's collision sent two people to a local hospital and stalled traffic for more than an hour.
This time, officials said, a westbound 18-wheeler left the road east of the I-20/59 split. The truck crossed the median and collided with an eastbound Pontiac Grand Am head-on at about noon.
Two women in the car were taken to local hospitals; officials said they believed the injuries were not life-threatening. The names of the women and their conditions were unavailable today.
The accident stopped eastbound I-20/59 traffic for more than an hour as workers removed debris and the two vehicles from the interstate.
String of accidents
The Tuesday wreck was the third accident within a week along portions of I-20/59 that are being upgraded and improved by the Mississippi Department of Transportation.
The first accident happened May 22, when an 18-wheeler collided with three other vehicles and sent two drivers to local hospitals. That wreck happened near same spot of Tuesday's accident.
The May 22 and the Tuesday accident happened in the vicinity of a $10.1 million project to overlay part of I-20/59 from Newton County to the 65th Avenue exit in Meridian. Construction is expected to be completed by July.
Also last week, on Thursday, a Forest woman and her two children were taken to the hospital after an 18-wheeler collided with two other vehicles on I-20/59.
That accident happened on the east side of Meridian, near another I-20/59 construction site a $10.3 million project to overlay the highway from the Alabama line to the Bonita Lakes exit.
Interstate accidents
In the past six years, the Federal Highway Administration in Washington said that more than 4,000 people have been killed nationwide in highway work-zone accidents.
The most common in a highway work zone are rear-end collisions.
Jim Willis, safety engineer for MDOT, said two of the major reasons for work-zone crashes are speeding and inattentive driving.
Transportation Commissioner Dick Hall agreed.
Willis said he plans to "look into" the rash of wrecks in the work zone areas on I-20/59 in Meridian and see what his department can do to help prevent future accidents.