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Why is the Bypass so Dangerous?

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Why is the Bypass so Dangerous?

Postby Happy Mom » Thu Feb 12, 2015 10:18 am

Fatal crash shuts down portion of Bypass


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St. Joseph County, Ind. An accident on the Bypass in St. Joseph County was fatal Thursday morning.

Officers say the crash involved a mini van and a semi truck in the westbound lanes.

The Bypass westbound at S.R. 23 is closed and may be closed for some time because of the hazardous conditions.

Officers are asking drivers to avoid the area. The Fatal Alcohol Crash Team is on scene investigating.

http://www.wndu.com/home/headlines/Fata ... 40811.html
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Re: Why is the Bypass so Dangerous?

Postby bob_rx2000 » Thu Feb 12, 2015 11:37 am

1) Because people drive like maniacs
2) Because the maniacs go even faster for some reason, on the bypass
3) Because the bypass goes past a lot of fields and the road gets bad fast.

Did I mention people driving like maniacs?
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Re: Why is the Bypass so Dangerous?

Postby Xenokilla » Thu Feb 12, 2015 7:26 pm

people driving crazy is half of it, but its more related to having an elevated roadway go through wide open fields, so when the wind whips up nothing stops it from forming a white out.
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Re: Why is the Bypass so Dangerous?

Postby bdcbbq » Thu Feb 12, 2015 7:37 pm

I don't drive the IN section of the bypass much but as far as I'm concerned the section from the toll road to Ireland/Main street could definitely use a fix. Any kind of wet weather and accidents increase. That's not attributable to maniac drivers.

This would be an excellent journalistic story for the area by one of our local investigative reporters. That is if we had any.
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Re: Why is the Bypass so Dangerous?

Postby bob_rx2000 » Fri Feb 13, 2015 7:56 am

bdcbbq wrote:I don't drive the IN section of the bypass much but as far as I'm concerned the section from the toll road to Ireland/Main street could definitely use a fix. Any kind of wet weather and accidents increase. That's not attributable to maniac drivers.

This would be an excellent journalistic story for the area by one of our local investigative reporters. That is if we had any.



I don't know, bdcbbq, when the roads get bad you would think that the maniacs might consider driving somewhat more slowly so that they can have more reaction time to the conditions... Yesterday on Auten, at the bridge over the river, I was crossing going about 30mph. This is a 40mph speed limit, no passing zone, but the road conditions yesterday, especially on a bridge, might make you at least think about moderating your speed. Some maniacal dodo in a Ford Expedition passed me while on the bridge. What is more, said dodo hadn't bothered to clean off his Urban Survival Vehicle and of course, I was treated to a white-out blowing off the thing. I think that the maniacs are out in force!
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Re: Why is the Bypass so Dangerous?

Postby bdcbbq » Fri Feb 13, 2015 9:51 am

Bob, there is a difference in the number of accidents on Auten Road vs. the bypass. But your point is well taken. I drive that bridge almost daily as does my wife and have for 20 years. As they say, Drive Defensively.
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Re: Why is the Bypass so Dangerous?

Postby Happy Mom » Sat Feb 14, 2015 3:44 pm

20 car pile up on the bypass Elkhart county line.

WNDU
2 mins ·
BREAKING: We have received reports of a pile-up of around 20 cars on the Bypass, just east of Ash in the westbound lanes. There are reports of injuries but the severity of those injures is unknown. We have a reporter on the way to the scene. Check back for updates and stay safe on the roads.
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Re: Why is the Bypass so Dangerous?

Postby Happy Mom » Tue Feb 17, 2015 8:02 pm

http://www.wndu.com/home/headlines/The- ... 83311.html

The Dangerous 20 Bypass - Part 1: Bad reputation

Posted: Tue 6:22 PM, Feb 17, 2015
By: Mark Peterson - Email Image

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It's the road a lot of people love to "fear" this time of year. The U.S. 20 Bypass has earned quite a notorious reputation for weather-related crashes, including another fatal accident just last week.

In our three part series, we try to find out if the dangerous conditions are simply the fault of the weather, or if the roadway itself is to blame.




It's hard to imagine a business that's closer to the Bypass than Great Lakes Heating and Air Conditioning.

Employee Melissa Simbeck is a true blue Bypass commuter.

"I've been riding the Bypass for at least eight years every day all day, and I've only had one accident, so I don't think that's too bad, " Melissa Simbeck says.

Officemate Melanie Rine is only a fair weather friend of the freeway.

"I use it every day unless it snows. If there's any kind of precipitation, freezing rain, any of that, I will not touch that Bypass," Melanie Rine admits.

Year after year after year, the Bypass seems to live up to its bad reputation.

"Two years ago, it was the winter months, conditions were treacherous. We had a call up at the Bypass, westbound lanes. We had 20 cars and three semis in about a mile stretch that were involved in accidents," recalls Chief John Van Bruaene, of the Penn Township Fire Department.

Van Bruaene has no choice in the matter. He is on the Bypass, like it or not -- more often than not -- when conditions are at their absolute worst.

"It's been icy enough where you could hardly walk on it, let alone drive on it," he admits.

Some 32,000 vehicles a day use the Bypass -- at least that's the case at the exit nearest to the Penn Township Fire Department on the Bremen Highway.

That's up nearly six percent from the traffic count taken in 2009, an increase of nearly 1,700 vehicles a day.

There were nearly twice as many weather-related collisions on the Bypass last year as there were just two years prior, according to statistics provided by the state of Indiana

The Bypass saw 76 collisions in 2014 compared to 41 in 2012.

Not surprisingly, nearly twice as much snow fell last year as was the case in 2012: 98.7 inches in 2014 compared to 54.6 inches two years ago.

"We're aware of the reputation of the roadway. We know there are some people out there who believe this roadway is unsafe," says INDOT spokesman Matt Deitchley.

"Ultimately, when you boil it down, we put more attention on the Bypass than we put on any other roadway in northwest Indiana. In INDOT's district, there's more plow trucks, there's more salt," Deitchley explains.

And yet you need look only as far back as last week to find yet another Bypass accident on a snowy day.

This one involved the loss of life.

"It's a very good road when its running like it should, but it's a killer in bad weather," explains Southwest Central Fire Territory Chief Dale Wedel.

"I'm not a person that is an advocate that there's some major design flaw up there. It's a roadway which is just like any roadway," argues Capt. Phil Trent of the South Bend P.D.

"There's nothing wrong with the roadway. It's engineered properly, that's not the issue. It's just its placement in terms of where the prevailing weather patterns kind of affect it," explains Asst. Chief bill Thompson of the St. Joseph County Police.

For instance, one section of the road runs north and south down from the state line. Another runs east and west to the Elkhart County line, so no matter which way the winds are coming from, drifting and blowing snow is likely to be a problem somewhere out there.

Also, there's a concrete barrier that runs down the middle of the road just about the entire length of the road. In some portions, that barrier is a lot closer to traffic than it is in others.

On Wednesday, we'll tell you just how much closer it is, and we'll see if that affects safety.

http://www.wndu.com/home/headlines/The- ... 83311.html
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Re: Why is the Bypass so Dangerous?

Postby Happy Mom » Wed Feb 18, 2015 12:17 pm

WNDU
2 mins ·

This crash on the Bypass, near mile marker 7, is just one of the many accidents and slide-offs that emergency crews are dealing with this morning.
Due to icy roads and whiteout conditions, police are asking drivers to avoid the Bypass if possible.
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Re: Why is the Bypass so Dangerous?

Postby Happy Mom » Wed Feb 18, 2015 8:03 pm

The Dangerous 20 Bypass - Part 2: Are some sections worse than others?
http://www.wndu.com/home/headlines/The- ... 91811.html

Posted: Wed 6:49 PM, Feb 18, 2015
By: Mark Peterson - Email

Image
Some parts of the Bypass were built back in the 1960s, and others were constructed as late as the

The Bypass is known for being dangerous in winter weather, but are some sections more dangerous than others?


To be sure, not all sections are alike. The stretch of the Bypass that runs through Indiana is about 33 miles long. It runs from the state line, around the southern tip of South Bend, and into Elkhart County.

Some parts were built back in the 1960s, and others as late as the '90s. No two are exactly alike.

November 18, 2014, was a snowy, dangerous day on the Bypass. Engine 41 had just arrived on the scene of an accident.

Before firefighters had time to get out of the truck, it was hit from behind by a semi carrying pickles.

"I had three firefighters that were transported by ambulance to be checked out. The truck has heavy, heavy damage," Southwest Central Fire Territory Chief Dale Wedel explained. "We've just been lucky, and this time, luck wasn't on our side."

But perhaps it was more than bad luck. The Southwest Central Fire Territory covers a section of the Bypass that is notoriously bad in bad weather.

It has been the scene of two fatal accidents in the past four months.

"I know that over by Mayflower where that curve is it's pretty bad over there. I will not go that way," explained commuter Corey Boyd. "Four lanes wide open cement across a plain right there. It's going to get nasty."


We decided to take a closer look at the 9.3-mile stretch of the Bypass that is north and west of the interchange at U.S. 31 south. It's not like the rest of the Bypass in a couple of key ways.

While a concrete barrier runs down the middle of the road for nearly the entire 33-mile length, the left shoulder of the road that separates the barrier from the nearest lane of traffic is just six to six and a half feet wide by our measurements. On the eastern two thirds of the Bypass, it is 12 feet wide -- twice as big.

Since much of this stretch of the road is elevated on the right shoulder, drivers commonly find a guard rail and a steep drop.

"That's a disaster waiting for something to happen because you can't even steer out of somebody's way," Wedel explains. "If the car in front of you starts to slide or whatever, you've got steep banks on one side and you've got a concrete barrier in the middle."

The combination leaves little room for error if a vehicle starts to lose control, and perhaps vehicles are inherently more likely to lose control here.

"It is a fact that overpasses and bridges freeze over faster than the rest of the roadway," explains INDOT spokesman Matt Deitchley.

The Bypass north of State Road 23 has eight bridges and overpasses, and just four underpasses, while the ratio for the entire Bypass is more like fifty-fifty.

North of State Road 23, drivers encounter an average of one overpass every mile. The ratio for the entire road is one overpass every 1.7 miles.

"The Michigan sections, a little bit more, have the grassy median in the middle of it. We have, obviously, the concrete barrier, so your margin for error is much tighter down here," explains Asst. Chief Bill Thompson of the St. Joseph County Police. "It's much more unforgiving in terms of it's got some steep ditches on the off side of the road and a big concrete barrier in the middle. It's a place that requires your attention when you're driving through it."

There is some danger associated with the entire length of the Bypass. Much of the road was built out in the open, making it vulnerable to blowing snow and icing.

But keep in mind, the further west and north you go, the road narrows and there's less room for error and a somewhat greater chance for ice to form.


The narrow section was built decades before the wider section, and we're told the minimum width for a left paved shoulder next to a concrete barrier is four feet, so there's nothing inherently wrong with a six foot shoulder.

http://www.wndu.com/home/headlines/The- ... 91811.html
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