Construction Zone Could Become Crash Zone

Police say traffic snarls could catch distracted drivers off-guard

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Police want drivers to focus on the road, not their phones.

    Police fear a billion-dollar construction project under way in the heart of the Metroplex could lead to more crashes if drivers don't pay attention. 

    The DFW connector project is designed to rebuild several crowded stretches of road along State Highway 114 and State Highway 121 in Grapevine, just north of DFW International Airport. 

    Police Worry About Distracted Drivers in Construction Zone

    [DFW] Police Worry About Distracted Drivers in Construction Zone
    Police fear more crashes by distracted drivers during work on the DFW connector. (Published Friday, Mar 12, 2010)

    Even before the orange barrels went up, the area was no barrel of fun for commuters. The area is known for fast-moving traffic often grinding to a sudden, jarring stop because of congestion. 

    "You can be doing 75, and all of the sudden, you know, it's all dead-stopped," said Kevin Martin, who drives Highway 114 every day on his way to work.

    On top of the speeds and congestion, construction crews are now re-striping the lanes and making them one foot narrower to make room for a concrete construction barrier.  Additionally, the lanes may be shifted at times from side to side during construction.

    Police worry that fast moving, distracted drivers will be caught off-guard.

    "Our concern is people not used to driving through here, and they don't know what's coming," said Lt. Todd Dearing, of Grapevine police.

    Police have also noticed a high number of suburban commuters using cell phones in the area and worry that will add to the distraction. 

    "You really need to be paying attention to what you're doing and driving the vehicle and not talking on the cell phone," Dearing said.

    The construction company managing the project has already noticed many drivers speeding through the construction zone, even though the speed limit has been lowered from 60 mph to 50 mph.

    Police hope drivers will heed their warnings, slow down and hang up the phone, so the four-year project can get off to a safe start.