Changes promised at dangerous I-225 & 17th Place interchange are ready to be installed

Dangerous interchange to get new signage

AURORA, Colo. - Changes promised at a dangerous new interchange in Aurora are finally ready to be installed.

Three new warning signs will be added to the new construction at Interstate 225 and 17th Place. The interchange opened in February, requiring southbound drivers who want to exit at Colfax, to get off the highway at the new 17th Place exit and continue across 17th Place to the Colfax exit. According to Aurora Police, there have been seven crashes involving drivers who have run the red light while going westbound over the interstate, crashing into those drivers trying to get to Colfax.

"I really hope that they're working on something to prevent stuff like this from happening to other people because it's not something I wish for anyone," said crash victim Sandy Mena.

Mena was driving to work at University Hospital in September when she was crashed into by a driver who ran a red light on 17th Place.

7NEWS interviewed Mena from the hospital in September when she began her recovery from injuries including a broken hip, broken arm, dislocated shoulder and broken wrist.

Last week, after more than three months, Mena wrapped up her rehab with a final checkup. She still wears a wrist brace and cannot fully extend her fingers.

"I think this is definitely the worst part about everything, not being able to do all the things (and) be independent like I'm used to," said Mena.

"Have you been through that intersection since?" asked 7NEWS reporter Marshall Zelinger.

"No, I don't like to," said Mena.

"We have just seen that people come and make this turn (northbound on I-225 on ramp from Colfax turning westbound onto 17th Place) and even though the great big red light is right in front of them, they look down the road, they don't see that there's an intersection here," said Aurora Police Lt. Jeff Turner.

After Mena's crash in September, Turner told 7NEWS that the city and the Colorado Department of Transportation were meeting to discuss changes to make the interchange safer.

"They're going to be putting in a sign as you're turning onto 17th (Place) that says, 'Intersection Ahead, 200 Feet,'" said Turner.

He said a second sign would be a yellow, diamond-shaped traffic light warning sign.

"Right at the intersection, there'll be a sign that says, 'Stop Here On Red,'" said turner. "Three more warnings that there is an intersection; there is a stop light, a signal there."

Turner said the signs are ready to go, but there isn't a way to secure the signs to the bridge area.

"That's the delay right now. The design is done, the signs are done, they're working on the hardware," said Turner.

At the hospital, Mena was told by her doctor that she can finally lift any weight she wants, which will allow her to get back to work.

"It's definitely something I'm going to have to face for the rest of my life," said Mena. "It's worth it, I got a second chance."

At the end of her appointment, Mena thanked her orthopedic trauma surgeon, Dr. Jason Stoneback, for saving her life. On Valentine's Day, University of Colorado Hospital will honor the orthopedics department at the 2014 Hearts of All Ages event. All proceeds from the carnival will benefit the University of Colorado orthopedics department. Click on the following link to learn about the Hearts of All Ages event. 

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