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CDOT talks safety on U.S. 24 east of Colorado Springs after recent double-fatality crash

EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. (KRDO) -- Some residents are calling for increased safety along a 25-mile stretch of U.S. 24 between Colorado Springs and Calhan after two drivers died in a crash last Friday.

According to the Colorado State Patrol, two Subarus collided head-on, just after midnight near the intersection of U.S. 24 and Palomino Drive, west of Calhan.

KRDO

The CSP said that Wyatt Taylor, 20, of Peyton, was heading east on the highway while the second Subaru, driven by Melissa Piccione, 36, of Colorado Springs, was traveling west.

The accident remains under investigation and although troopers suspect alcohol was a factor, they aren't revealing which driver was at fault.

A group of Piccione's friends gathered at the crash site Monday to leave a memorial of flowers and pictures.

KRDO

"She was a mother of five," one friend said. "She was on her way home from work when this happened. This is the second person we know who has died in a crash on this highway."

The crashed closed the intersection for nearly four hours; Master Trooper David Conway described the affected section of highway as "a straight, flat stretch with no obstructions or weather issues."

"There have been fatal crashes on that stretch in recent years but probably fewer than five so far this year," he added.

KRDO

But that's still too many for one resident who emailed KRDO NewsChannel 13, expressing concern about fatal crashes along that stretch over the years and asking if the Colorado Department of Transportation can do more to improve safety there.

Michelle Peulen, a spokesperson for the Colorado Department of Transportation, said that the agency has widened the affected stretch of highway in several places and installed turn lanes at some locations.

KRDO

"We have another widening project that will take place in the next three to four years," she said. "We're also studying where more turn lanes might improve traffic flow. Next spring, we'll add center lane rumble strips to help keep drivers alert."

Most of those improvements, she said, were or will be done between Falcon and Colorado Springs.

What residents most want to see -- reducing the speed limit from 65 mph -- is currently not in CDOT's plans.

Scott Harrison

Scott is a reporter for KRDO. Learn more about Scott here.

Comments

17 Comments

  1. Let me guess, they will add additional bicycle lanes and remove 1 lane of traffic, to @ssist in controlling the traffic speed.

    1. Hey, this is CDOT, not Colorado Springs Department of Public Works that is being covered here! Toll lanes coming!
      .
      On a more serious note, it’s hard to make meaningful safety changes to two-lane roads. Installing a median that incorporates a barrier of some kind is probably the best bet, but that normally is reserved for four-lane roads/highways. Not sure if traffic loads justify this kind of expense.

      1. You are correct RMC SS, I was totally off the mark, thank you for the correction. No bicycle lanes, just toll lanes.
        The real question is if this is being identified as a hot spot on a heat map for traffic enforcement, why is there not more enforcement in the area? How bad does it have to get in order to have CSP or EPSO send a trooper or deputy to provide the first level on the use of force continuum, officer presence.
        If the majority of accidents are speed and alcohol related, well that means more law enforcement in the area is needed. CDOT can only make the roadway safer by adding additional features like stop lights and signs, or widening the roadway to handle the traffic this highway observes continuously. And the growth of El Paso County is only further encmbering the arterial roadways into and out of the area, like Highway 24 is displaying.

      2. Have you travelled this stretch of highway lately? Always traffic. Should be a 4 lane highway with a median yesterday. Justified by traffic load without a doubt.

        1. Let’s build lots of subdivisions with houses and then the people will come to live. Then they will die.

    2. Removing one lane of traffic from a two-lane road leaves an alternating one-way street. That would definitely slow things down . . . 🙄

  2. When it is a drunk driver crash then what can you do as far as road wise to have it be safer. Some people just don’t think when they complain.

    1. You’re right in that the real problem behind this are the DUI drivers. And most of them are repeat offenders, which reveals that all the current rehabilitation and restrictions etc. do not work.
      .
      Nevertheless, the number of deaths on the one stretch of road indicates some other sort of problem that CAN be fixed somehow.

      1. So the crashes they are talking about ended up being… a DUI driver, Old person had a medical incident, reckless driver and another “medical incident” they think diabetic problem.
        So is the road the problem or drivers? I think it is way to easy to get a DL and maintain it. People that are on the road crashing should not be. Like you said multiple offenses and people who should be medically disqualified.

      2. DUI drivers? I’m not worried about DUI drivers, I’m worried about the texting morons. There are a whole lot more of them out there on the roads.

  3. “There have been fatal crashes on that stretch in recent years but probably fewer than five so far this year,”
    .
    Fewer than five fatalities this year on the one stretch? How many does it take to get action?

    1. So. Here is some numbers for you to consider. The current project in Falcon that is just adding a new intersection to Meridian road and a bit of widening is a 30 million dollar project. To expand the highway as some want could be well over 300 Million dollar project. People will not want to pay for it. All the crashes out east have been preventable and all drivers faults.

      1. I still maintain that when one stretch of road has that many fatal crashes, there must be something about that particular stretch of road that’s an aggravating factor. I’m not a highway expert, so I can’t pinpoint what it is, but it’s a heck of a coincidence that all the drivers made fatal errors on that one same stretch of road. Perhaps lane markings are insufficiently visible in poor lighting conditions, or some such similar thing. But I bet there’s something to be found if people look hard enough.

  4. The head of CDOT hates cars, thus she is probably considering putting in a Bustang route or a train.

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