FDOT: No increase in crashes since construction began on I-595 in 2009
Drivers disagree with FDOT's findings
The Florida Department of Transportation says it hasn't seen more traffic accidents since construction began on Interstate 595 in 2009.
The $1.2 billion improvement project includes building express lane toll roads to ease rush hour traffic.
"We haven't seen an increase in accidents with the 595 project," said I-595 Construction Project Manager Paul Lampley.
But drivers aren't so sure.
"It really is horrible," said Patsy Quintana, who takes 595 to work everyday.
"It gets a little nerve wracking, especially over by Pine Island, because you don't even know it's coming and it breaks off. It's like a dead man's curve. We almost wiped out," said Carl Williamson, who lives near 595.
The Florida Highway Patrol reports more crashes since the project began, but in the last few months with makeshift exits and lane changes, the number of crashes hasn't increased.
The numbers below were provided by FHP:
- September: 157 crashes
- October: 173 crashes
- November: 125 crashes
- December: 112 crashes
"We trying to get out information ahead of time when we're doing any kind of major lane shifts," said Lampley. "One thing we've done on the project that's new to FDOT, we're using a lot of big orange construction signs alerting drivers to where the exits are."
"It is good because you kind of see it before you get to it," said Quintana.
FDOT says the project should be completed in early 2014. In the meantime, officials say road rangers are patrolling the interstate 24 hours per day so that accidents can be cleared out of the way as quickly as possible.
Click here for more information on the project.