DARKE COUNTY — Proposed improvements at a dangerous Darke County intersection elicited positive comments from the public, according to the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT).
Tricia Bishop, ODOT District 7 environmental coordinator, said several area individuals responded to a request for public commentary on a plan to improve the intersection of Ohio Route 571 and Arcanum-Bears Mill Road, in Van Buren Township, east of Greenville, Ohio.
“All comments received supported improvements to reduce accidents at the intersection,” she said in a memorandum. “No comments or objections on environmental grounds were made.”
Slated to begin in 2018, the project will shift the intersection east and will require the acquisition and removal of the small out building currently located immediately southeast of the existing intersection.
Construction will likely last four months. Traffic will be maintained, though lane closures are to be expected. Traffic on Arcanum-Bears Mill Road will be detoured in phases, with each phase lasting approximately 45 days.
According to ODOT, Ohio Route 571 has an average daily traffic of 6,590 vehicles; Arcanum-Bears Mill Road has an average daily traffic of 1,550 vehicles.
In addition to expressing approval, those responding to the project made suggestions to ODOT for alternative improvements beyond its current plans.
One respondent suggested adding a signal light to the intersection, but ODOT says the intersection “does not meet signal warrants. Therefore, a signal can not be installed.”
Another recommended increasing law enforcement presence in the area, but ODOT responded this was out of the agency’s control. ODOT recommended that the commenter provide information to law enforcement regarding the time of day when improper maneuvers are observed, to allow law enforcement to patrol the area at the most effective times.
Another suggestion was to stripe more of 571 as a “no-passing zone.” ODOT says the area is already striped for no-passing and ODOT will not extend the striping beyond its current limits.
“Based on the crash history for this area, crashes have not been associated with passing maneuvers and increasing the no-passing zone will not address the safety issue at this intersection,” the memorandum stated.
A suggestion to use larger stop signs, with flashers on Arcanum-Bears Mill and a caution light on 571, was nixed by ODOT, which stated, “Most of the crashes at this intersection are attributed to ‘Failure to Yield,’ which indicates the drivers stopped prior to pulling out in front of traffic on State Route 571. Since drivers on Arcanum-Bears Mill Road are already seeing the stop signs and drivers on SR 571 have not been at fault, this is not the appropriate tool for improving safety at this intersection.”
Regarding an idea to install rumble strips, ODOT said, “Rumble strips are not a preferred treatment, due to the increase in noise for nearby residents.”
The project will be constructed with state System Preservation Funds, with a total cost estimated at $500,000. Environmental clearance for the project is scheduled for August 19, 2016.
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