Local bus driver and lawmaker discuss safety on Interstate 70

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TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – Ahead of the upcoming school year, Vigo County school buses are no longer allowed to travel I-70 west of Indianapolis.

It comes after multiple serious crashes on the interstate, several of which have resulted in death.

According to Howard Cutright, president of the Vigo County Schools Bus Driver Association, before this decision was made some bus drivers were already using alternate routes.

“Most bus drivers have taken it on their own to not travel 70 just because of what goes on Interstate 70. Everyone knows it’s become the nickname of ‘Killer 70’,” Cutright said.

Cutright says his main concern with I-70 is speed, especially around construction zones.

“It seems like everybody wants to rush to that area and then at the last minute get over or what have you, and then that causes a chain reaction,” Cutright said.

To combat some of the issues that people have seen, Indiana state senator Jon Ford says lawmakers are discussing changes to I-70 including widening the interstate.

“Widening I-70 is kind of caught up in the national infrastructure plan that’s been talked about in Congress for the past two or three years,” Ford said.

Ford also says he believes it’s time to discuss another physical change to I-70 which could potentially increase safety.

“We need to talk about going to three lanes. I don’t know if that’s a toll road. I don’t know if that’s federally sponsored but we have to look at going to three lanes,” Ford said.

Ford says he supports Vigo County Schools in their decision to prevent buses from traveling this stretch of interstate.

“As a legislator and a father that has two kids in high school here, I support the school corporation in that decision. They need to do what they think is going to be necessary to keep the kids safe,” Ford said.

Ford authored a bill last year that would introduce speed cameras in work zones in Indiana.

While the bill did not become law, Ford says the transportation study committee will study it this fall.

When asked if they hope their decision starts a broader discussion about safety on I-70. Vigo County Schools director of communications, Bill Riley said this:

“We’re interested in any conversation that takes the well-being of our students into consideration. It would be easier for us to use I-70 West of Indianapolis, but what’s easiest isn’t always right. We’ll continue to evaluate our decision and make changes if things change”.

Bill Riley, Vigo County School communications director

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