December 19, 2018 10:54 PM
(ABC 6 News) -- A deadly crash at the intersection of Highways 18 and 218 in Floyd is bringing renewed attention to upcoming safety improvements in the area, but those upgrades are still years away from becoming a reality.
Troy Reams, 40, of Greene, was killed Wednesday when he rear-ended a semi truck around 5:30 a.m. The crash remains under investigation, but the Iowa State Patrol said distracted driving may have played a role.
State Patrol Sgt. Mindy Coe said she's seen a number of crashes in that area, but believes Wednesday's was the first fatal crash at the intersection in 2018.
"The majority of the accidents there are actually property damage only," she said. "Since [the Iowa Department of Transportation] redesigned the intersection, we've only had a few serious accidents."
Some of the changes in recent years include offset left turn lanes and lowering the speed limit from 65 to 55 miles per hour, DOT design engineer Nick Humpal said. A full reconstruction of that stretch of Highway 18, also known as the Avenue of the Saints, is planned for late 2021 or 2022.
"At this point, we're working on the final design. We are in the process of laying out the right-of-way impacts and the improvements there," Humpal said.
The upcoming redesign will take Highway 18 traffic over Highway 218 and see on-ramps built for turning traffic. The number of at-grade access points to Highway 18 will be reduced from Floyd to Charles City, he said.
The project is expected to cost around $20 million.
Sgt. Coe said if distracted driving is found to be involved in Wednesday's crash, the redesign may not have prevented it, but it will make the road safer.
"I do think the ramps are going to help significantly," she said.
Created: December 19, 2018 10:54 PM
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