BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — There has been a rise in car accidents on an Indiana highway since construction began more than two years ago.

Crashes between the Bloomington and Martinsville portion of Interstate 69 have increased nearly 48 percent since construction began in 2014, the Indianapolis Star (http://indy.st/2si4iIt ) reported. State data shows there were more than 350 crashes along the 21-mile highway stretch in 2016, almost 115 more crashes than in 2014.

Accidents are more likely to occur in construction zones due to rerouted traffic, stopped traffic and lane changes, according to Indiana Department of Transportation officials.

“That’s the nature of our job to be concerned about the safety of our public when such a significant construction project comes through the area,” said Sgt. Curt Durnil, a spokesman for Indiana State Police Bloomington. “There’s just a lot of obstacles. It’s not just the construction; it’s the lane shifting and speed zones that change back and forth.”

More people will likely get injured the longer construction continues, said Rep. Matt Pierce, D-Bloomington.

“That’s pretty serious stuff, let alone the other issues of people being frustrated about being stuck in traffic, or people not wanting to come to Bloomington,” he said.

The project was scheduled to finish in October but has seen multiple delays caused by I-69 Development Partners, the contractor managing the project, state officials said. Construction is expected to continue until August 2018.


Information from: The Indianapolis Star, http://www.indystar.com