JOHNSON COUNTY — Crashes on Interstate 380 in Johnson County are on the rise according to data from the Department of Transportation.
“People just need to keep their heads up,” said Trooper Bob Conrad of the Iowa State Patrol.
As of mid-August there had already been 75 crashes on I-380 in Johnson County. That doesn’t include a crash that sent a semi driver to the hospital via helicopter Tuesday morning near Swisher. Troopers say the semi driver bumped into a car while trying to change lanes, which caused the semi to flip over in the median.
The average number of crashes on I-380 in Johnson County from 2004 until 2013 was around 90 per year. The all-time high was in 2012 when the DOT reported 137 crashes on that stretch of roadway. The previous high had been 105 in 2008. Between 2004 and 2006 the average number of crashes was 71.
“Speed is often a factor, but we see a lot of people just not paying attention or following too closely,” Conrad said.
Making the area even more dangerous is the Interstate 80 to 380 interchange, which has played a roll in multiple semi crashes in recent years. DOT officials say preliminary work to make changes at the interchange will begin in 2018.
Despite the rise in crashes in Johnson County on I-380, issues have remained steady on I-380 in Linn County south of Highway 30.