County roads focus of safety study

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 23, 2014

Even though the date of completion for the Portsmouth Bypass is about five years away, Lawrence County is gearing up for the changes the new route will bring locally.

“We have to get prepared for the bypass,” Doug Cade, county engineer, said. “It will open up a floodgate of traffic.”

Part of that preparation involves just-started safety studies of the intersection of County Road 410 and Township Road 1012, and intersections of U.S. 52 and County Road 1 and County Road 15.

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A week ago two teen-agers were killed when the driver of the car on County Road 15 failed to yield as it entered U.S. 52.

“This is a terrible tragedy,” Cade said. “Too young to lose their lives. As a government we will do our part of see what we can do to improve (those intersections).”

On Thursday the county’s Transportation Improvement District approved a contract with E.L. Robinson to begin a safety study, which must be completed by the end of May 2015.

“There will be a public meeting on the project to allow the public to give input,” Cade said.

Those meeting are expected to be in January and February.

“We are wide open to what the solution is,” Cade said. “We have to figure out a solution, whether it is signals or signage.”

Currently there are two stop signs erected by the Ohio Department of Transportation at County Road 15 as it intersects with U.S. 52 erected by the Ohio Department of Transportation and an advanced warning sign of the stop sign put up by the county.

“We try to make them more pronounced so they understand there is a stop sign,” Cade said.

Two years ago the engineer’s office commissioned the Traffic Safety Analysis Systems and Services Inc., a consulting firm from Grove City, to study all county and state roads to determine the number and kind of accidents.

The intersection with the second-largest number of accidents between 2009-2011 was at County Road 410, or Walmart Way, with 45 accidents. The intersection at County Road 1 ranked fifth with 20 accidents during that same period.

Another Traffic Safety Analysis study for accidents between 2010-2012 showed there were 14 accidents at the intersection of County Road 1 and U.S. 52; seven at the intersection at County Road 15; and 28 accidents at Walmart Way and the township road.