'No room for error:' FOX6 rides along with semi driver through tight I-94 construction zone

RACINE COUNTY -- In the wake of major crashes in the construction zone along I-94 in Racine County, FOX6 News on Tuesday, July 23 got a new perspective on the dangerous stretch of roadway, as we rode along with a truck driver who said he encounters things like speeding, crashes, and reckless behavior on a regular basis.

The construction zone begins in the southern portion of Milwaukee County and continues through Kenosha County. Brian Schuenke said it's the most dangerous stretch he encounters each week.

Brian Schuenke

"My love for driving is what's gotten me into this," said Schuenke.

For Schuenke, driving is his lifestyle. He's been driving semis for more than 20 years, and has encountered everything on the road.

"I run back and forth from Wisconsin here to Michigan," said Schuenke.

He said the stretch of I-94 between Milwaukee County and Kenosha County has been a constant problem.

"There is no room for error," said Schuenke.

It's a tight squeeze, with drivers who aren't paying attention, through the construction zone.

"There's so much speeding going on out here. No one cares about the law," said Schuenke.

Crash on I-41/94 at 50th Road -- Courtesy: Katelynn Planka

Car hauler crash on I-94 near Rawson Avenue

Crash on I-94 northbound at Oakwood

Two semi drivers were killed and two others were hurt in a crash and fire that happened along I-41/94 at 50th Road in Racine County on June 19 -- shutting down the interstate for hours. The next day, a car hauler crashed into a concrete barrier on I-41/94 near Rawson Avenue in Milwaukee County. On June 28, two semis crashed on I-94 northbound at Oakwood in Milwaukee County, and corrosive material leaked onto the freeway. It took hours to clean it up. On July 6, a chain-reaction crash involving six vehicles required a total of 13 people to be checked out at the scene; some suffering minor injuries. It happened on I-94 near County Highway A in Kenosha County.

Chain-reaction crash on I-94 in Racine County

Officials with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation said despite the high-profile crashes, the number of incidents in the construction zone was down from this time in 2018.

To help reduce the number of crashes, the DOT put up new speed limit signs and refreshed the paint on the road, in an effort to keep drivers safe.

"It's scary because you never know if they're going to crash into you," said Schuenke.

Schuenke said he sees drivers ignoring the rules of the road daily, and said he was hopeful seeing things from his perspective would change that.

"Slow down, so we don't have more fatalities and more accidents," said Schuenke.

It's a very tight squeeze along that stretch of roadway -- with only about a foot and a half between Schuenke's truck and the side wall. With no emergency shoulder, he said each error could be critical -- a reminder to slow down and give the trucks some room.