NBC 10 I-Team: Couple says highway poses safety risk
LINCOLN, R.I. (WJAR) —
Andrew and Lucille Lajoie built their yellow ranch house on Reservoir Road in Lincoln themselves as newlyweds, 65 years ago.
Since then, their once-rural neighborhood on the Lincoln-North Smithfield line has changed a lot, as busy Route 146 now runs right next to their property.
The problem? The Lajoies say drivers are continually crashing their cars near their home, sometimes even in the front yard.
"We feel bad for the people that get hurt,” Lucille Lajoie, 87, said. “We’re not safe in our driveway. We could get killed in our driveway."
Cars have come up on to the Lajoie’s lawn at least seven times in the past few years, the couple said.
The NBC 10 I-Team checked accident reports with the Lincoln Police Department and found there have been nine crashes in the area in the past 12 months alone.
"People getting hurt, cars damaged, hospitalized,” said Andre Lajoie, 91. “And we're in danger over here of being hit."
The couple’s front yard on Reservoir Road lies just before the ramp to 295 South, which is part of what’s causing so many crashes. Drivers looking for 295 South accidentally take the ramp to Reservoir Road. Then, they sometimes hit a divider, which can launch their cars directly towards the Lajoie’s home.
Lucille told NBC 10 she called the Rhode Island Department of Transportation and asked for help. She was told upgrades to Route 146 were coming in two years.
“That's not a very good answer,” she said. “We're 92, almost, and 87. I said, ‘We've been there 65 years and that's what we get?’"
The NBC 10 I-Team took the couple’s concerns directly to Rhode Island Department of Transportation Director Peter Alviti
"I certainly apologize that it's taken them this long to have some attention brought to it,” Alviti said. “We'll be working on it."
Many of the signs in the area have been taken out by cars that take the wrong turn. On Thursday, NBC 10 saw two signs still laying by the side of the road after recent crashes.
Alviti promised help is on the way, starting with replacing and improving those signs leading up to 295 South.
“Secondly, I've asked our safety engineers to look and see if we can provide some kind of barricade there to protect them and their property from people who still make the wrong decision,” Alviti said.
The NBC 10 I-Team will check back on the progress this spring.