Most Dangerous Stretch Of Road On I-25

I-25 Between Santa Fe, I-70 Has Had Most Crashes In 2009

We all know there are dangerous intersections around town, but do you know where you're most likely to crash in Denver?

7NEWS checked Denver police records and found the answer is the section of Interstate 25 between Santa Fe and Interstate 70.

"People are not paying attention. Everybody's in a big hurry now. They're texting on their cell phones, and people crash because of that," said Sgt. Chris Hoag, with the Denver police highway traffic operations unit.

According to Denver police records of the top 10 accident locations in the city in 2009, Denver police responded to and investigated 973 crashes last year in the section of I-25 between Santa Fe and I-70, making it the most dangerous stretch of interstate in the state.

"It's not surprising because there's a quarter million cars per day that are jamming through this one little section of I-25 and when you have all that jammed together it's like a crowed apartment building, people are going to get on each other's nerves," said Hoag.

According to Denver police records, the cause of the vast majority of crashes is following too closely. Other frequent causes of crashes include illegal or improper lane changes, reckless or aggressive driving and speeding.

"Almost 90 percent are following too closely. People are not paying attention. They're not giving enough space to the car in front of them. But everybody's in a big hurry now. They're in a rush to get to the fast lane. They're texting on their cell phones. They're talking on their cell phones, I'm just as guilty of that as anybody," added Hoag.

Denver police said officers have increased patrols in the area with the help of grant money to pay for overtime and additional officers to enforce traffic laws in the area.

"Having officers out there, visible, it makes the drivers think about the possibility that the next day, an officer might be there," warned Hoag.

Denver police believe one way the accident rate could be reduced is with help from the Colorado Department of Transportation. During several traffic incident management meetings each year, the two agencies talk about ideas to improve and redesign the 50-year-old highway.

"When it was built, it served its purpose but now we're in a different era and we're looking to bring improvements to I-25," said Reza Akhavan, CDOT region 6 Director.

One of the improvements is under way. Last month CDOT started a bridge replacement project at Alameda and I-25.

In the next few years there will be more improvements, more lanes on the highway and design enhancements to get traffic to move more smoothly. CDOT hopes these improvements will eventually reduce the crash rate.

7NEWS checked Denver police records for the first half of 2010 and found more than 400 crashes occurred so far along that same stretch of highway. At that rate, the total crash rate this year would surpass last year's accident rate.

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