CT Department of Transportation works to prevent wrong-way crashes


NORTH STONINGTON, Conn. (WTNH)– It’s a scene the state did not want to see repeated. 

Just before 8 p.m. Wednesday night police began getting calls of a wrong-way driver on I-95 northbound coming from Exit 93 in North Stonington.

Moments later there were reports of a head-on crash.

Related: Interstate 95 in North Stonington reopens after triple fatal crash, victims identified

“When these incidents do occur they’re catastrophic,” said CT Department of Transportation spokesperson Kevin Nursick.

Abigayl Lamphear, 17 of Westerly, Rhode Island, who police say was driving the wrong way, was killed along with Roger and Dorothy Noel of West Warwick, who were in the other car.

Watch: How CT State Police are working to prevent wrong-way crashes

This comes after wrong-way drivers caused other deadly crashes in recent years on this far southeastern stretch of the highway.

A couple of years ago the state spent five and a half million dollars to replace and upgrade the signs on 700 ramps statewide. It was done specifically to try to prevent wrong-way drivers.

Related: What to do if you come across a wrong-way driver

White arrows painted on the ramps indicate the correct direction of traffic and there are no less than six warning signs on each exit ramp.

“The signs are larger, reflective and located lower to the ground so they are more visible to the motorist,” said Nursick. “They also have reflective delineator posts which draws attention to the sign.”

Nursick says there is a possibility the wrong-way driver could have gotten on the highway on a Rhode Island exit just a couple of miles away.

In any case, Connecticut is looking at technology to add to the alerts.

The state is trying out a new camera system at Exit 8 on I-84 which will videotape the vehicle and record the date and time.

“It will also activate another level of warning systems,” said Nursick. “In this case, it will be flashing LED lights around the wrong way signs.”

The hope is the wrong way driver will self-correct before getting on the highway and causing another catastrophe.

The DOT says it may also replace the bulb green light for arrows on traffic lights at certain exit ramps so there is no confusion as to which way you can and cannot go. 

For example, if the exit is to the left, a forward arrow will light up so drivers know they can only go straight.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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