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CHP, Caltrans Respond To Rise In Accidents On Highway 50

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Construction chaos is leading to an increase in crashes on Highway 50.

The number of crashes on Highway 50 through Sacramento is spiking since construction took over.

"When I see the construction, I'm like here is more traffic, here's more accidents," driver Miangel Moore said.

From March to August, the California Highway Patrol responded to around 360 crashes from Watt Avenue to the Sacramento River on westbound Highway 50. That's around a 70% jump from the same time period during 2019.

"People are swerving and more car accidents right there in the middle because a lot of people don't know where to go," explained Moore.

The increase comes during Caltrans' multi-year "Fix 50" construction project expanding and revamping the highway.

"There is a lot more traffic and due to that, a lot of crazy driving. Erratic is a good way to describe it," driver Laiyoni Powe said.

Angela DaPrato with Caltrans said lower 55 mile-per-hour speed limits, restriping to alert drivers of lane changes and added reflectors still haven't slowed cars down.

"A lot of people are traveling over 55 miles per hour—in the 80, 70—and we have actually seen 95 recently," DaPrato said. "We have been trying to do a lot of precautions, a lot of safety measures on our part, but it really comes down to motorists and obeying the speed limits and not being distracted."

CBS13 wanted to know what Caltrans and CHP are doing to help reduce the number of crashes.

DaPrato explained the two agencies are working together to plan a "swarm," where an enhanced number of CHP officers will be working to increase enforcement to force drivers to pay attention.

"Be expected, be warned, CHP will be ticketing those who are exceeding the 55 miles per hour in the construction zone," said DaPrato.

The construction concerns are prompting a warning to drivers: Slow down or face the fines.

"Be work zone alert. That's the number one thing. We don't want anyone to not go home to their loved ones," DePrato said.

According to DePrato, drivers should expect to see enhanced enforcement in the coming weeks.

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