The Washington Times-Herald

March 12, 2014

Upgrade on safety at bad intersections

By Mike Grant Times Herald
The Washington Times-Herald

---- — Next week Daviess County officials are expected to start a series of improvements to four intersections to try to make them safer. One of the intersections has been the location of multiple fatal traffic accidents, two others are near hills and have also been the site of crashes, and the last is in the process of being upgraded as a coal company pulls out.

“These are high risk intersections that we have identified in the county,” said Highway Superintendent Phil Cornelius. “We have received some recommendations to upgrade them and we want to deploy those.”

“This is something we need to do,” said president of the Daviess County Commissioners Tony Wichman.

The intersection getting the most attention is CR 350E and CR 100N. “I have worked four fatalities there with the fire department,” said Wichman. “We just had another one there this spring.”

The county has considered making changes to the intersection in the past but felt they were boxed in by federal transportation rules. “We did some more looking and found that as commissioners we could do more,” said Wichman. “Those accidents are perplexing. The sight lines are really good there. People just drive through it. Most of the accidents have involved local people that drive through there regularly.”

The Daviess County Highway Department has studied the crossing and in the past put up larger signs. Now they are going to take additional measures. “CR 350E is the through traffic,” said Cornelius. “We are going to add signage there warning that there is an intersection ahead. CR 100N will get additional signs alerting motorists that cross traffic does not stop. We are also going to be adding rumble strips on 100N in both directions approaching the intersection. We’ll also be putting a stop-bar marking on the road.”

“I’m in favor of this,” added Commissioner Larry Wilson. “I drive through there all the time and with all of these accidents it’s not good.”

Another high traffic intersection will also be getting some extra attention from the county. The crossing at CR 500N and SR 57 has also been the site of several accidents. “That is the road that leads to the Perdue Mill,” said Cornelius. “There is a lot of truck traffic at that crossing and that has led to some accidents.”

The county is not allowed to do anything with the highway, but it can take some action on CR 500N. “There is a hill that hides the intersection before you get to the highway,” said Cornelius. “We are going to put some down some rumble strips there to act as an extra reminder that the cross traffic is coming up.”

A hill on another county road that approaches SR 57 will also get some rumble strips to warn motorists. That is at CR 900N near Plainville. “We don’t have quite as much traffic there as 500N,” said Cornelius, “but we have had some accidents there and we think rumble strips will help there.”

The final intersection that will get a safety upgrade is CR 900E and CR 100S. “The coal mine is pulling out and will be repaving that road,” said Wichman. “We expect with some of the new pavement out there we’ll see a lot more speed from people driving through there. We’re going to put down some rumble strips to make the drivers more aware they are coming up on a stop sign.”

The county plans to begin the work next week, but cannot guarantee it will begin then. “With the weather we have been having we’ll have to see if we can get in and get it done,” said Cornelius.

Because the county has it’s own machine to make the rumble strips the improvements should not cost a lot. “We think we can do this for about $1,000 per intersection,” said Wichman.