Many are saying that a poorly designed freeway transition at the 605 and 10 freeways in Baldwin Park has caused many dangerous big-rig accidents. According to this news report in the Pasadena Star News, since July 27, 2008, at least five trucks have tipped within a few hundred feet of a transition road between the two interstates. A look further back in time shows a similar record, with truck after truck overturning at that same interchange.
The 605 and 10 interchange is also apparently the 19th busiest freeway interchange in California. About 438,000 vehicles use it daily. California Highway Patrol officials are saying that truck drivers simply need to slow down to avoid chaos at that interchange. Big-rig drivers say these California truck accidents occur because of other “rude drivers.” But the obvious question that jumps out here is: Why do big rigs specifically topple at this interchange?
Civil engineers say truck drivers do not have adequate road to transition onto the freeway at this particular interchange. The problem is they do not have enough time or space to safely make the transition. Under current freeway design guidelines, a typical transition between two major freeways is 1.5 miles and this interchange apparently does not quite meet those guidelines. On this interchange, truckers apparently have 400 feet – less than a tenth of the mile – to merge over two lanes while weaving past drivers exiting the freeway on Frazier Street. Caltrans officials say they are “aware of the problem.” State officials say they want to fix the problem, but may not have the funds for it.
This Baldwin Park roadway is obviously extremely dangerous and if no one has been killed or serious injured as a result of this interchange, it is nothing short of a miracle! If someone were to suffer catastrophic injuries or get killed in a large truck accident on this interchange, then Caltrans could very well be held responsible for the accident. That’s because not only does a dangerous condition clearly exist at this freeway transition, but Caltrans also has knowledge that a hazardous condition exists.
It would be in Caltrans’ best interest to attend to this problem right away and fix it before motorists are injured or lives are lost on this dangerous roadway. Fixing the problem may be expensive, especially considering California’s budget crisis. But the state may have to pay out a lot more money as compensation to victims or families of deceased victims who are either seriously injured or killed as a result of this freeway interchange. Getting it fixed will not only end up being cheaper, but will also help save lives.