PennDOT to add cable median barriers to part of I-81 in Cumberland County

CARLISLE, Pa. (WHTM) – The driver of a tractor-trailer involved in a crossover crash along Interstate 81 in South Middleton Township on Sunday has died.

Investigators believe Bruce Brauer, of Illinois, had a medical emergency.

Three people died after a crossover crash near Carlisle last December.

Crashes like these are prompting changes from PennDOT.

“These are not just minor crashes. These are very violent crashes. People are losing their lives,” Cumberland County Commissioner Gary Eichelberger said.

PennDOT held a meeting Thursday with Cumberland County leaders to discuss safety along Interstate 81.

“We have been very active in trying to reach PennDOT to get their attention for safety improvements along Interstate 81,” Eichelberger said.

PennDOT announced three phases of projects to improve safety.

“We’re going to start at the Franklin County line, and we’re going to take that area up to the interchange with PA 233. Then we’re going to address the area at the 944 interchange, and then there’s just a small section right before you get the US 15 interchange at the river,” said Michael Keiser, a PennDOT district executive.

Those areas will get cable median barriers. Another part going on now adds a lane along I-81 from routes 114 to 581 in addition to barriers. The third part includes repaving I-81 from Route 233 to Carlisle.

Keiser says PennDOT can’t put up cable median barriers in the Carlisle area due to the slope. They’re considering guide rails instead.

“The median out there is there for a reason,” Keiser said. “It’s an area to recover for vehicles that depart from the roadway. When we place this barrier, to a degree we’re taking away that recovery area.”

“The commissioners are extremely pleased that PennDOT has been responsive, and we’re hopeful that this will happen promptly,” Eichelberger said.

Six crossover crashes happened in Cumberland County in 2016.

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