I-43 Repair Work Starts at Site Where 10 Killed

Thu October 24, 2002 - National Edition

CEDAR GROVE, Wis. (AP) _ Repair work began Tuesday on Interstate 43 at the spot where 10 people were killed in a chain reaction accident in fog Oct. 11 –the

deadliest traffic crash in state history.

Kurt Wranovsky, state Department of Transportation maintenance supervisor, said it will cost $25,000 to repair a 100-foot southbound stretch of the road four-tenths

of a mile north of the Sheboygan-Ozaukee county line.

"This is the first time I’ve ever seen concrete damaged this badly from an accident," said Wranovsky, who has worked for the DOT for 15 years.

Crews worked Tuesday on the west lane, which should be open to traffic Thursday or Friday, Wranovsky said. The east lane will be closed to traffic for repairs

Monday through the middle of next week.

Crews used a large jackhammer to break up the concrete that had been damaged from a fire during the pileup, Wranovsky said.

A front-end loader and a skid loader removed the concrete, which was taken out in dump trucks. Workers will put down gravel to level out the base before a 10-inch

layer of concrete is poured, Wranovsky said.

A series of skid marks that lead up to the crash site will still be visible.

The accident site also is marked on the west side of I-43 with memorials that include pictures, several flower bouquets, six circle wreaths, two cross wreaths, one

heart-shaped wreath and four crosses.

Trooper Jim Reese of the Wisconsin State Patrol said the memorials are a cause for concern.

"It becomes a distraction to people driving by," he said. "People need to avoid stopping, gawking and rubbernecking. We don’t want to sound unsympathetic to

people who are putting up memorials, but it does cause a distraction."

The memorials are technically in place illegally because the state’s right of way goes up to the fence line, Reese said.

State Patrol Lt. Nick Scorcio said authorities would not take any immediate action on the memorials, but authorities do not want more memorials erected.

"Anytime someone stops on the interstate, obviously that’s a hazard and we’re concerned about their safety and the safety of other people," Scorcio said. "It’s illegal to

stop there unless it’s an emergency."

The memorials will be removed eventually, he said.

"Right now, we’re trying to be sensitive to the people who are grieving for their loved ones," Scorcio said. "There’s kind of a fine line there between allowing and

being sensitive to these people and then also, at some point, having to enforce those laws."

Scorcio and Reese said it is not unusual for memorials to be put up at the site of a traffic fatality.