Highway Relief Will Be Ahead

WHEELING – Roadwork in the Wheeling area is becoming not just a headache for motorists, but a potential hazard for those getting into accidents, according to Wheeling police.

Due to an increase in traffic jams caused by work on Interstates 70 and 470, Deputy Chief Martin Kimball is cautioning people to slow down to prevent them from not only damaging their vehicles, but possibly harming themselves or other motorists on the road.

“While we have road construction in our area, drivers need to leave earlier for work and give some extra time,” Kimball said, noting there has been a rise in the number of accidents lately.

The I-70 repaving work is being conducted by BOCA Construction Inc. of Norwalk, Ohio, and is occurring in both the east and westbound lanes. It is expected to be finished sometime in October.

Brent Walker, state Department of Transportation spokesman, said in response to motorists’ complaints about traffic congestion, the DOT plans to postpone the I-470 work until the I-70 paving is finished, but a date to do that has not been set.

“The I-470 project is not so reliant on weather as the I-70 job,” Walker said, noting the I-470 project now is mainly in its lighting replacement phase. “We do listen to the traveling public and we hope they’re pleased that we’re getting rid of the congestion.”

He said that before the orange barrels can be removed from I-470, some minor paving needs to be finished while the weather still is warm.

Meanwhile, until the congestion is relieved, Kimball said motorists should avoid following the vehicle in front of them too closely and to pay attention to the flow of traffic, which can stop at a moment’s notice. Drivers are asked to turn off unnecessary distractions such as cell phones and loud radios. And when approaching intersections, drivers should be alert of their fellow motorists who may not be paying attention as closely as they should.

Meanwhile, other safe driving tips from Kimball include: adjust to the weather conditions; wear a seat belt; keep your eyes on the road; do not participate in road rage; do not tailgate or follow too closely; leave early to avoid rushing to work; keep your vehicle in good working order; and be cautious when entering intersections, red lights and making lane changes.