[WBHG News 24 – Kirkland, WA] – The Washington State Patrol shared a picture of a vehicle that went around construction barriers on I-405 and drove into the ongoing roadworks at the Exit 18 bus terminal and highway interchange expansion project. No one was injured.
According to Washington State Patrol Trooper Rick Johnson, the driver of the Subaru SUV went around the construction barriers, continued southbound on the Exit 18 offramp, and drove into the construction area. The driver was not impaired, and Trooper Johnson alleged the driver said they “forgot” there was a road closure. It is unclear how they drove around the barriers.
The Washington State Department of Transportation, King County, and the City of Kirkland had previously announced that parts of Northeast 85th Street and the I-405, Northeast 85th Street Interchange would be closed from January 26 to 29 to demolish the off-ramp bridges at I-405 and Northeast 85th Street. A second set of closures is planned for February 2 to 5 to replace the existing infrastructure with new four-lane intersections.
The picture shows skid marks leading to the dropoff and a piece of construction equipment well below where the car stopped, suggesting the accident could have been more serious.
The most recent data from Washington state about construction zone accidents is from 2021, which posted a 10.8 percent increase over 2020, with accidents in interstate construction zones increasing by 15.4 percent. Both years had significantly reduced traffic due to the COVID-19 pandemic and work-from-home mandates. The biggest increases were among rear-ending accidents and crashes involving commercial vehicles, with fatal work zone accidents increasing by 18 percent. There was no data available on accidents caused by drivers who wilfully ignore road closures.
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