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Lack of barrier between lanes on I-64 allowed crash

A deadly truck crash last month on Interstate 64 occurred when a westbound semi-truck went across the median and struck another truck head-on. According to one news report, some drivers are concerned that there are no median barriers on that stretch of road that lies just west of Nitro, unlike most of I-64 between Charleston and Huntington.

The department of Highways claims that the section of highway has had fewer crashes than is the average for interstates in West Virginia and therefore does not require barriers. Highway specifications do not demand any median barrier when there is a distance of at least 30 feet of median between the shoulders of adjacent lanes.

While cable barriers have been installed in locations where there is a high rate of crossover crashes, a spokesperson for Department of Highways noted there had only been two crashes in that area between 2013 and 2015.

The good news for area drivers is that a concrete barrier will be installed in that section when it is expanded from the existing four lanes to six lanes when reconstruction begins in 2017, but it is unclear when that will be complete.

Head-on collisions, especially when they occur at interstate highway speeds and involve semi-trucks, are often deadly and even when motorists survive, it is often with severe injuries. Those crashes are one reason you now see much of the interstate system with cable barriers. Funding is always an issue and highway departments have to ration their installation based on crash rates.

Sadly, the barriers, when installed here, will be too late for one driver.

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