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DOT: No inherent risk in parallel highway bridges

The state Department of Transportation does not plan to make sweeping changes to bridge design after a Raleigh man fell to his death from Interstate 440 last month.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — The state Department of Transportation announced Tuesday that an investigation found no inherent safety risk in the design of the Interstate 440 bridge where a Raleigh man fell to his death last month.

Raleigh police said Carroll Lee Eames Jr., 33, of Willow Spring, stopped on the bridge between Glenwood Avenue and Six Forks Road to direct traffic after a collision. He jumped over a barrier between the eastbound and westbound lanes to avoid oncoming traffic.

The state plans to add a fence between the bridges at that location, at a cost of about $30,000, but does not plan sweeping changes statewide, State Highway Administrator Terry Gibson said.

“We don't see a pattern statewide that would really make it viable for us to go out and do that,” he said. “We don't see, for the money we would spend, that we would get that much protection. We just don't see that many of that type of accident occurring.”

DOT found three similar deaths on other parallel bridges over the last 9 years statewide. Todd Fletcher, 26, died in a similar fall at the same I-440 bridge in October 2005.

The DOT investigation did note an alarming number of Good Samaritans killed or injured when stopping to help after car accidents. Because of that, the state plans a public education campaign about safety after a wreck.

State law requires that vehicles involved in a wreck be moved off the roadway, if possible. DOT advises that drivers stay inside their cars after a wreck and wait for emergency personnel.

The DOT also suggests:

  • Move to the right of the road, onto the shoulder or grass if you can do so safely.
  • Turn on hazard lights.
  • Never exit the car on the side of oncoming traffic.


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