Fatal I-64 crash has drivers question lack of barriers

Published: Aug. 19, 2016 at 6:13 PM EDT
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PUTNAM COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A fatal accident on Interstate 64 on Tuesday has drivers concerned over the lack of barriers on the highway.

The crash happened in Putnam County between the 40 and 41-mile marker.

According to the Department of Transportation, the crash happened when a semi truck in a westbound lane crossed over the median and hit another semi head-on.

"You see people running off the road and running other cars off the road there," Driver Lenora Tony said. "I mean, I just think there needs to be something there for a little more protection."

The 4-mile section of the highway is one of the few areas between Huntington and Charleston without barriers.

Division of Highways spokesperson Carrie Jones told WSAZ they're not needed in that section.

"Where we have areas that have that much space, typically we are not required federally to have type of barrier there," Jones said.

DOH is not required to have any barriers in place when the distance across the median from the shoulder of the westbound lane to the shoulder of the eastbound lane is at least 30 feet.

DOH places cable barriers in other sections of I-64 that don't require concrete barriers if there is a high crossover crash rate.

Jones says this section of the highway had two crashes from 2013 to 2015 and an average below the West Virginia average statewide for all interstates.

But the area will have a concrete barrier put into place -- it's just not clear when that will happen.

Construction for a project to widen the entire roadway from a four-lane to six-lane highway will begin in spring 2017.

The construction will shorten the width of the median, therefore requiring the concrete barrier.