Steve Landeen, Deseret News
Kris Messersmith walks with crutches Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2011, as he recovers from a recent accident on his street bike on I-15 south bound near 500 East in American Fork.

AMERICAN FORK — A motorcyclist is recuperating from injuries he suffered in an accident he said could have been prevented. Kris Messersmith says there were no orange barrels in place to keep him from riding an old freeway on-ramp.

"It should have been barricaded off, and this never would have happened," he said.

The Utah Department of Transportation says the roadway was blocked off. The Utah Highway Patrol is investigating.

The accident happened at the American Fork 500 East interchange in the I-15 Core construction zone. Messersmith said he rode through a large gap between orange barrels intended to block the entrance to the old southbound on-ramp, which was under construction.

"When I realized the old ramp I was traveling on ended, I tried to slow down and hit all kinds of gravel and rock where the on-ramp was under construction," he said. "I could not slow down enough to miss three or four plastic pipes across the ramp. I had no choice but to lay the bike down."

Messersmith estimates he was traveling about 50 mph.

"I've got a fractured left ankle, bruising and road rash from ankle to the hip. I've got a torn rotator cuff on my left shoulder," he said.

Messersmith claims construction company failed to put out enough orange barrels and that it was impossible to navigate in the dark.

"The officer stated to me (the opening between the barrels) was wide enough for two ambulances and a patrol car, side by side," he said.

2 comments on this story

UDOT said the contractor insisted there were plenty of orange barrels in place that night.

"From what they tell us, they heard from highway patrol that he was going too fast on that ramp,” UDOT spokesman Scott Thompson said.

After the accident, UDOT said crews did put more orange barrels in place, as a precaution.

"We went and put some more out some more barrels to tighten up those gaps, just to make sure no one was going to get through there after the fact," Thompson said.

A spokesman with the UHP said the investigation into the accident is not yet complete.