TERRE HAUTE — The Vigo County School Corporation announced Monday it will no longer allow bus travel on Interstate 70 between the Indiana-Illinois state line and Indianapolis due to recent serious crashes.
According to a release from the school corporation, athletic teams will still use Interstate 465 and Interstate 65 to travel to games in Central Indiana, but all travel on I-70 is prohibited, including within Terre Haute for daily use.
“Keeping our children safe is one of our most basic priorities, and recent news tells us that our children will be safer staying off Interstate 70,” Bill Riley, director of communications for Vigo County School Corporation, said. “While it might take a little longer to reach athletic events, that is a small price to pay for safer travel.”
Indiana Department of Transportation strategic communications director Scott Manning said school districts must make decisions regarding transportation that best meet their needs.
"INDOT monitors traffic conditions on I-70 and all other state-maintained routes regularly," Manning said. "Our traffic engineers analyze traffic volumes, congestion data, travel times, pavement and bridge conditions and crash data in evaluating the safety of a roadway. Our team is confident in the safety of I-70 as it is built today. Having said that, we routinely look at additional safety measures on an ongoing basis that can reduce the risk of serious or fatal injury crashes. INDOT has a strong track record of implementing safety measures, such as cable barriers and achieving significant reductions in serious crash numbers."
Manning also said the risk of crashes is lower on the interstate versus on highways, but dangerous and distracted drivers are problems locally and nationally.
"Interstates are generally designed with better sight distance and geometrics and far fewer conflict points than other roads," he said. "With that said, no highway design can overcome poor decision-making by motorists such as speeding, reckless and distracted driving which has been the cause of multiple crashes that have happened on I-70 and other routes in Indiana and across the country this year and in recent years.
"INDOT will continue to work with state and local law enforcement and other partner agencies on enforcement and education efforts to promote safe driving. We will also continue to monitor roadways and implement engineer solutions geared toward increasing safety where appropriate to do so."
The Vigo County School Corporation said it will continue to evaluate the safety of bus routes and might update its new I-70 policy in the future.