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CDOT makes safety changes at deadly interchange off I-70 and E-470

Posted at 3:25 PM, Oct 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-05 19:41:56-04

ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. -- The Colorado Department of Transportation has made moves to make a dangerous off-ramp from I-70 to E-470 safer for travelers, more than nine months after a woman was killed in a head-on crash.

On Christmas day 2017, investigators say an elderly couple was driving home when they went the wrong-way down the I-70 exit ramp. Their car eventually slammed head-on with a truck. Katie Paul, a resident of Aurora, was killed. The 86-year-old driver of the caravan and his wife also died. 

"We're still hurting," said Paul's sister Kelsey Carruth. "Life without her is really hard. I would be lying if I said we were doing well."

Shortly after the crash, Carruth said she hounded CDOT to do something about the off-ramp.

"I called and emailed multiple times and they said they would do it, but I wanted a timeframe. I wanted action," she said.

CDOT listened. Several very large "Do Not Enter" signs are now posted at the mouth of the ramp. Additional "Wrong Way" signs have also been posted.

"In this particular instance we did a lot of research and looked at what other states around the country are doing," said CDOT spokeswoman Stacia Sellers.

Denver7 did some research too. Caltrans, California's department of transportation, uses reflectors that stick out of the ground. When drivers go the wrong way at night, all they see is a sea of red.

"Unfortunately here in Colorado we can't do that," said Sellers. "With our snow plows it would be a constant battle going out and fixing those."

So signage is the answer at I-70 and E-470.

"It's a great start," said Carruth. "I think it's going to stop people and make them think."

Sellers told Denver7 there is still a possibility that CDOT changes the whole geometry of the interchange to further prevent drivers from turning the wrong-way down the off-ramp.