Increase in crashes along Fresno's main highway

FRESNO, Calif.

These days it's hard to say there's no traffic in Fresno. In fact, cars and trucks moved at a snail's pace during the morning commute as drivers tried to not only merge onto Highway 180, but to pass a crash on the shoulder. Other minor crashes were also reported around the same time, it's a trend officers are also seeing.

Officer James Pennick said, "There's a little bit more accidents, everybody seems to be in a hurry, trying to get to work or wherever. So start a little bit earlier and slow down."

With the braided ramp project construction changing the flow of traffic, Officer James Pennick with the California Highway Patrol says commuters need to pay close attention as lanes change and merge.

Officer Pennick explained, "With the construction site, the merge it's a little tough at time, but you just have to slow down and be cautious and be courteous."

And drivers will need to be more alert with new changes. Construction officials say starting Thursday morning, if you're heading northbound on the 41, to go east on the180 you'll have to merge earlier. If you're heading out to Clovis, from the 180, you'll have just one dedicated lane. They are changes that will allow crews to work on the braided ramp project.

Project Manager Pat Hinterberger said, "We've gotten a lot of work done and we've still got a lot more to do, but you'll be seeing a lot more crews out here in the coming weeks."

The changes will remain until summer. The braided ramps project is expected to be complete in December, but until then, Valley drivers can expect to commute in a construction zone.

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