Central Ohio Guardrails Can Sometimes Sit Broken For Weeks
Cars along Central Ohio highways sometimes plow into the barriers. The aftermath leaves them broken, smashed and sometimes obliterated.
10 Investigates has found however that some broken guardrails will go unrepaired for weeks or even months.
Broken guardrails pose a threat for drivers.
Several years ago, Todd McCullough was traveling on I-70 when his truck spun out of control. He was able to avoid driving into oncoming traffic thanks to a guardrail.
“Had the guardrail not been there or been in disrepair and we had gone into other traffic, who knows what the circumstances would have been.” McCullough said.
The Federal Highway Administration says seriously damaged guardrails should be fixed "within a reasonable time." 10 Investigates found broken barriers sometimes sit around for extended periods of time.
Caroline Gorey Yepez has been walking by a smashed Columbus guardrail for months. She feels it takes an excessive amount of time to fix.
“I have witnessed high impact wrecks at this light,” Gorey-Yepez said. “So this guardrail is really important.”
The City of Columbus didn't begin repairs on the guardrail until 10 Investigates started asking questions. A spokesman says they consider reports of a broken guardrail and go through a process.
“It depends on the specific location, has someone reported it. We would have to go and look at the specific location,” the spokesman said. “But the bottom line is we want them fixed as soon as possible.”
10 Investigates also found similar issues on state owned property, such as a broken guardrail on I-670.
ODOT Spokeman Steve Faulkner tells 10TV the state acts within 72 hours when there's an emergency.
But the state databases 10 Investigates reviewed did not show the state routinely keeping track of emergency status or how long repairs take.
While the state does not routinely track emergency status or how long repairs take, the county does.
Thomas Nutini is in charge of fixing county guardrails. His database tracks each broken guardrail, the severity of the damage and how long it takes to fix. That's usually a day or two for serious damage.
He says it’s important to track guardrail repair.
Since 10 Investigates began working on this story, the Ohio Department of Transportation started working on a system to track the progress of guardrail repairs.
The database will contain information similar to Franklin County’s, including when the guardrail was damaged and the extent of that damage.