GREENVILLE — Construction at the intersection of U.S. 127 and Kruckeberg Road is due to begin on Monday at the cost of $2,262,309.00 for a Partial Restricted Crossing U-turn (Partial RCUT) Intersection design.
The project is under the jurisdiction of the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) with a completion date of Dec. 1. The project was awarded to Brumbaugh Construction Inc., the lone bidder, in May.
According to ODOT District Traffic Planning Engineer Mary E. Hoy, safety funding, which includes both state and federal safety funds, will cover up to the capped amount, which for this project is $1,386,440. ODOT District 7 preservation allocation funds will be used to cover all remaining costs.
What to do with the U.S. 127 and Kruckeberg Road intersection has been debated for several years. Between 2011 and 2015, there were two fatalities and 45 accidents at the intersection. A fatality that took the life of a teen driver in August 2016 prompted a petition leading to an ODOT safety study. In January 2017, ODOT held a well-attended public meeting to gather input from residents and discuss options to reduce traffic accidents and fatalities at the intersection. Options included closing the intersection to upgrading the U.S. 127 and St. Rt. 121 interchange. Traffic studies were also conducted before officials announced the Partial RCUT design in June 2017.
Estimates for the project have ranged from $748,000 to $794,000 leading to shock at the $2.2 million announcement, about three times what Darke County Engineer Jim Surber estimated.
Surber made it clear the project is not one he oversees as he found it a significant amount of money for a rural intersection.
According to Surber, the Partial RCUT design originated in the state of Michigan, explaining the design is meant to curtail points of contact. Currently, there are 32 potential conflict points at the intersection. After the project, the points will be reduced to 24, or by about 25 percent.
“I hope for the better,” said Surber who did share concerns about large trucks making left turns in the RCUT design. “They will only do it one time and then decide it’s not for them.”
When the project is complete, traffic will continue to work as it does today when moving north and south on U.S. 127. A driver heading north will still be able to turn west onto Kruckeberg Road to gain access to S.R. 121 or Russ Road. A driver heading south on U.S. 127 will still be able to turn east onto Kruckeberg Road towards Jaysville-St. Johns Road.
The only difference, when the project is complete, is for drivers traveling on Kruckeberg Road (regardless of which direction) when approaching U.S. 127. The only option for a Kruckeberg Road driver will be to turn right. They will not be able to turn left onto or cross over U.S. 127.
Kruckeberg Road drivers who wanted to turn left have the option of utilizing the U-turns situated a few hundred feet from the intersection. For example, a driver heading east on Kruckeberg, wanting to travel north on U.S. 127, will turn right at the intersection. The driver will travel a few hundred feet south to a designated U-turn lane, which will redirect them north.
An ODOT announcement states the road closure between St. Rt. 121 and Jaysville St. Johns Road will last until Dec. 6, with the official detour St. Rt. 121 to Jaysville St. Johns Road. Travelers should also note that U.S. 127 between U.S. 36 and St. Rt. 121 will be open but will have daily lane closures between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., with one lane open in each direction.
Reach reporter Bethany J. Royer-DeLong at 937/548-3330 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Read more news, features, and sports at DarkeCountyMedia.com.