GRAY, TN- Construction and congestion off Exit 13 on I-26 is leading to a high number of crashes in Gray.
“I just recently moved to the Boones Creek area, and was told this was a quick, easier access to I-26,” Sherry Johnson, who lives in Boone’s Creek, said.
What she said she thought would be a short cut, ended with a long scratch on the side of her car. Johnson said while she was trying to navigate this intersection a fire truck came up behind her. “I, trying to do the right thing, tried to get out of his way so he can proceed to his call, and hit a guardrail in all the congestion that was there,” Johnson said.
This is just one of many crashes here so far this year.
“Since January 1 of this year we’ve had 30 crashes there in that particular area, so we’re averaging one every five or six days,” Lt. Scotty Carrier with Johnson City Police said.
Carrier said that number ranks this intersection as a top crash area in the city, with most crashes involving one car hitting the back of another.
“When you enter a construction area there are more distractions that come into play,” Carrier said. “You’re coming from 60 miles an hour, slowing down and so you’re traveling at basically 90 feet per second trying to bring it to a stop and if you gaze away even for just a couple of seconds you’ve traveled quite a distance.”
“This is a very, very dangerous intersection and I feel like that it needs to be maybe monitored more by our public safety enforcement officers,” Johnson said.
But Carrier said it’s driver awareness not police presence that will make the difference. “Us being there is not going to stop a crash from occurring, and we don’t have the resources quite frankly where we can go to every high intersection crash that we have and just stay there consistently,” Carrier said.
Johnson said until this construction clears up that she will avoid the intersection and take the long way around.
According to the Tennessee Department of Transportation, the construction at the intersection is set to be done at the end of September.