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CDOT shares improvements for deadly intersection, community wants more change

Posted at 10:41 PM, Mar 03, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-08 01:10:18-05

PUEBLO COUNTY — The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) hosted a community event at Vineland Middle School on Tuesday night to share its plans for improvements to a deadly intersection in Pueblo County.

In an improvement study of the intersection, CDOT said it plans to add flashing conflict warning systems that alert drivers of approaching vehicles to the intersection on both US 50 and 36th Lane. CDOT says it also plans to move the eastbound right turn lane further into the shoulder and move the stop line of 36th Lane up to the eastbound lane of travel so drivers' sight will not be impacted while turning.

One family is fighting for more improvements after three loved ones were killed in a car crash at the intersection last February.

Ada Frazier, 86, and her great-grandchildren Trent Frazier, 13, and McKenzie Frazier, 6, were turning left across the intersection when they were hit by another driver. Over a year later, the family of the three victims is fighting for a stop light at the intersection. They said a traffic light could have prevented the deadly crash.

"I'm afraid of somebody else getting hurt out here. There's been numerous accidents out here," said Chris Roberts, McKenzie's father.

According to CDOT, there have been nine crashes at the intersection between July 2015 and June 2020, with 11 injuries. In six of those incidents, a vehicle was hit by another vehicle while turning.

CDOT said after completing the study, it found a traffic signal would not be the right fit for the intersection. According to the study, a signal can help reduce angled collisions but may increase crashes like rear-end collisions instead.

Jason Nelson, the traffic operations engineer for CDOT, said one of the main reasons the intersection is not suitable for a traffic signal is because of the 65-mile-per-hour speed limit.

The family of the three victims said a stoplight is the only solution they are willing to accept. They are encouraging community members to voice their concerns at CDOT's open house for the intersection's planned improvements.

"Hopefully... CDOT will see that the people who actually live in this community and understand what this intersection is and how hard it is to get across... hopefully, CDOT might listen to that," said Justin Fox, McKenzie, and Trenton's great uncle.

Nelson said the plans for improvements are not yet finalized. However, once approved, CDOT is planning to start construction in late summer and finish the project by late winter.

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