- Lulu Ramadan Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Despite recent addition of signs and markers directing drivers at a crash-prone highway overpass, a woman was killed in a wreck at that overpass early Thursday.
Jasmine Tinesha Fairell, of Opa Locka, smashed into a concrete barrier at the Congress Avenue exit of Interstate 95 around 6:30 a.m. The 26-year-old failed to turn right onto the overpass, struck the concrete center median and veered into the barrier, according to Florida Highway Patrol.
She was the only person in the four-door sedan and was not wearing a seat belt.
That highway overpass is no stranger to dangerous wrecks. A long southbound exit ramp leads to a sharp right turn onto the overpass. Many drivers in crashes at the overpass speed along the exit ramp and fail to make the right turn, said Barbara Kelleher, spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Transportation.
“People just aren’t calculating their speed well enough,” Kelleher said. “That’s why they thought additional pavement marking and signs would call attention to drivers.”
The overpass was the subject of a state study in spring, and was upgraded with signage and markers to capture drivers’ attention at the tricky exit ramp.
“The majority of the problem is people are not slowing down adequately to make that right turn,” Kelleher said.
The department went to great lengths to warn drivers to slow down and yield to the sharp right turn onto Pensacola Corp Drive, the overpass that leads to the north-south Congress Avenue.
They painted the center median; added “EXIT ONLY” pavement markings on the far right lane approaching the southbound exit ramp; installed “SIGNAL AHEAD” warning signs on the off-ramp; installed “RIGHT TURN” warning signs with “5MPH Speed Advisory” signs on the ramp; and installed yellow warning markers and right turn arrows on the median.
The department is exploring other short-term options for the overpass, Kelleher said.
The signage and markers were added around the time a tow truck driver fell to his death at the overpass while attempting to rescue a crash victim in distress.
In April, Richard Randolph, 69, slipped off the overpass while helping the driver of a tractor-trailer that had flipped onto its side against a barrier wall. The tractor-trailer followed a similar route as Fairell’s Nissan did Thursday.
The tractor-trailer was also exiting southbound and failed to yield the right turn.
It isn’t clear exactly how many crashes have happened at the overpass, but at least five have taken place since 2016, according to FDOT.