A stretch of Arizona’s roadways near Riggs is receiving increased scrutiny after three deadly crashes and five deaths occurred there in just one week.
ABC 15 ‘s Adam Waltz reported that all of the crashes occurred less than 10 miles apart and in the early morning hours of Monday, February 10th, Wednesday, February 12th, and on Sunday, February 17th. Each of the three crashes happened near the Ridge Road exit of Interstate 100.
The latest crash on Sunday involved a 71-year-old driver who was driving the wrong way. The man, who was suffering from an age-related mental illness, struck another vehicle head-on, killing himself and two others.
Each of the accidents that happened that week had a different set of circumstances, but it’s making officials wonder about the frequency of the crashes. Because the majority of accidents are happening in the same vicinity around Riggs Road, it has captured the attention of the Arizona Department of Transportation officials.
Department Spokesperson, Doug Nitzel told ABC that there had been a total of 347 crashes, from Maricopa to the 387 Highway. Nitzel said that ADOT is always looking for ways to increase public safety. The speed limit for the 26-mile stretch of road drops from 65 miles per hour to 55 miles per hour. Last fall the ADOT painted the new speed limits directly on the pavement to get drivers’ attention and get them to slow down. There is also a zero-tolerance policy for those who do break the speed limit or make other moving violations.
ADOT is currently conducting a study of the area to see what else can be done to help prevent more crashes from happening. Measures that ADOT is considering for the stretch of road that has had a concentration of traffic accidents include widening that stretch of the highway, changing it from two lanes to three.