I-Team: I-95 warning signs paying off - News, Weather and Classifieds for Southern New England

I-Team: I-95 warning signs paying off

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PROVIDENCE -

Big-ticket improvements on Interstate 95 in Providence and Pawtucket cost taxpayers $250,000 to install.

Now, NBC 10 has learned the new warning signs, pavement markers and reflectors on three curvy sections of the highway are paying off.

The signs and other improvements were installed at the Thurbers Avenue curve in Providence as well as the "S" curves and the Londsdale Avenue curve in Pawtucket.

Rhode Island spent more than $250,000 in Federal highway funds to make the changes in late 2011, at a time when the Department of Transportation told NBC 10 accidents on the three curves happened almost daily.

A little over a year later, the I-Team obtained a state report that shows the project is already getting results.

Total crashes on the curves were up 28 percent year to year, but officials said that was likely because traffic was up by about 10 percent overall.  Most of those drivers had either minor injuries, or no injuries at all.

Serious, injury crashes, the focus of the improvements, were down 49 percent.

"It's been very successful.  We were able to cut injury crashes in half," said Robert Rocchio of the Department of Transportation.

Rocchio says the improvements have paid off, which is especially important at a time when state and federal budgets are tight.

"We have to look at new ways of getting creative, and getting a bigger bang for our buck," he said."

According to the state report, more than $4 million has already been saved due to the highway improvements. That's money that would have been spent on medical bills, car repairs and other damage.

"For every one dollar spent, it's an $80 return on investment," Rocchio said.

Some drivers say they've noticed a difference on the road as well.

"I haven't seen crashes as often lately," said Alexander Leach, who drives through the curves several times a week. "I used to see maybe two or three a month, but I haven't seen any since they put that up."

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