Florida works on truck rollover hotspots

June 19, 2012

The state of Florida is working to mitigate truck rollover accidents in the state, especially on roadways that have been identified as rollover “hotspots,” according to a report in the Sun-Sentinel.

Among the worst is the interchange between Interstate 595 to Florida's Turnpike according to the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI). The interchange is used heavily by trucks heading to and from Port Everglades and has been the site of several bad truck rollovers in recent years.  

In 2007, a tanker truck carrying 8,000 gallons of fuel rolled over on the I-595 ramp to the northbound Turnpike, snarling traffic for nearly eight hours. Excessive speed for the ramp was cited in a 2005 accident where a gasoline tanker overturned and exploded on the northbound turnpike entrance ramp from I-595, killing four people.

Turnpike officials have since installed eight larger and brighter speed limit signs and three oversized signs warning drivers that trucks might tip if they take the ramps too fast. The state also built a new direct ramp from westbound I-595 that eliminates an S-curve that forced drivers to make a sharp left then a sharp right turn to enter the northbound turnpike, which opened in December.

Other changes are currently under construction as part of the $1.8 billion overhaul of I-595. The geometry of some ramps is being changed with gentler curves. And areas where drivers weave to merge from one highway to the other are being eliminated.

Other truck rollover hotspots identified in South Florida include:

• The U.S. 27 interchange at the turnpike inMiami-Dade County.

• The southbound I-95 ramp to East Copans Road in Pompano Beach.

• The Donald Ross Road interchange at I-95 in Jupiter.

State officials say most truck rollovers are caused by driver error, traveling to fast for the geometry of the ramps.

ATRI is using data from its rollover study to develop a satellite-based mobile communications network to alert drivers about the hot spots, according to Rebecca Brewster, president of the institute.

The institute plans to take a closer look at the causes of the rollovers and work with state transportation departments to come up with improvements.

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