I-Team: I-95 warning signs paying off

Big-ticketimprovements on Interstate 95 in Providence and Pawtucket cost taxpayers $250,000to install.

Now,NBC 10 has learned the new warning signs, pavement markers and reflectors onthree curvy sections of the highway are paying off.

Thesigns and other improvements were installed at the Thurbers Avenue curve inProvidence as well as the "S" curves and the Londsdale Avenue curvein Pawtucket.

RhodeIsland spent more than $250,000 in Federal highway funds to make the changes inlate 2011, at a time when the Department of Transportation told NBC 10accidents on the three curves happened almost daily.

Alittle over a year later, the I-Team obtained a state report that shows theproject is already getting results.

Totalcrashes on the curves were up 28 percent year to year, but officials said thatwas likely because traffic was up by about 10 percent overall. Most ofthose drivers had either minor injuries, or no injuries at all.

Serious,injury crashes, the focus of the improvements, were down 49 percent.

"It'sbeen very successful. We were able to cut injury crashes in half,"said Robert Rocchio of the Department of Transportation.

Rocchiosays the improvements have paid off, which is especially important at a timewhen state and federal budgets are tight.

"Wehave to look at new ways of getting creative, and getting a bigger bang for ourbuck," he said."

Accordingto the state report, more than $4 million has already been saved due to thehighway improvements. That's money that would have been spent on medicalbills, car repairs and other damage.

"Forevery one dollar spent, it's an $80 return on investment," Rocchio said.

Somedrivers say they've noticed a difference on the road as well.

"Ihaven't seen crashes as often lately," said Alexander Leach, who drivesthrough the curves several times a week. "I used to see maybe two orthree a month, but I haven't seen any since they put that up."