Police discuss criteria for closing highways after crashes


After thousands of drivers were stuck in traffic for hours this weekend because of two serious crashes on I-95, many are wondering why the highway had to close for so long.

One of the crashes blocked all lanes of the highway in the area of Old Lyme, and eight vehicles were involved in the other crash.

A tractor trailer spilled water bottles all over I-95, closing the highway for eight hours.

Then, minutes later, an eight-car pile-up happened on the other side of the highway and killed two people.

People like John Kapsalas are wondering why the road was closed for so long.

“People get frustrated. They want to go wherever they want to go,” he said.

State Trooper Kelly Grant said decisions to close a road are made on a case-by-case basis.

“A lot of it has to do with the size of the scene and the safety of the people working on that scene,” Grant said.

The rule of thumb is whenever reconstruction crews are called to a scene, at least one lane will close.

More may shut down depending on how big the crash is and how many emergency crews need to respond.

Because of the severity of both of the crashes, Grant said it took a lot longer.

“We do need to shut the highway down at times, so the troopers can do their jobs as far as taking pictures, drawing a map, any of those type of things,” Grant said.

In both cases, all lanes were closed for some time. Some states tend to open at least one lane, and state police said that is the goal in Connecticut too.

“As far as State Police goes, there's really no criteria as far as the size of the accident, but it'll be dictated by what's going on,” Grant said. “The safety of the DOT, the firefighters, the safety of the state troopers, the people involved in the crash and the scene itself.”

Copyright 2015 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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