Wednesday, August 23, 2017
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Reflective posts installed at Spencer/Bypass intersection
By Jamie Vinson
Advocate managing editor

It’s a notorious accident spot in the community, and has been the scene of some fatal wrecks.

In fact, the Kentucky Transporation Cabinet, Dept. of Highways, District 7, said there have been several crashes at the Bypass Road/Spencer intersection the past few months.

The cabinet is hoping to change those stats.

In reviewing the crash reports, it was determined that drivers were stopping properly at the intersection, but were driving out into oncoming traffic,” said Natasha F. Lacy, public information officer.

Lacy said that while the intersection has adequate sight distance, it seems drivers could not judge the speed and/or placement of cars advancing toward them. Therefore, in an effort to provide some visual cues to drivers (so that they can better judge speeds and distances), the Transportation Cabinet placed delineator posts at various intervals near the instersection (both sides of the bypass).

The delineators installed are flexible, but durable and serve as powerful guidance devices both during the night and adverse weather, the cabinet says. They are made from high density polyethylene that contain sections of retroreflective sheeting that is visible at night.

Delineators are used, the cabinet added, to alert pedestrians and motorists to locations where the roadway alignment might be, particularly in sudden or congested areas. For example, the posts are helpful at curves, entrances, for complex movements, access management and transitions, a traffic enginner said.

“We hope that this aids with preventing crashes at this location,” Lacy told the Advocate.

Lacy said the first nine delineators are spaced 25 feet apart, the next four are 50 feet apart and the last two are 100 feet apart.
In 2015, state Sen. Ralph Alvardo sent a letter to the Transportation Cabinet asking for rumble strips to be placed at the Spencer/Bypass intersection to alert motorists of the intersection. State. Rep. David Hale supported the effort.

Alvardo did so at the request of Montgomery County Commissioner Melody Towsend, who said at the time it was her goal to prevent additional fatal accidents there.

The push for rumble strips never materalized, however.

Townsend told the Advocate she followed up several times on the status of a solution and was under the impression that the state didn’t think it was dangerous enough to warrant any additional safety measures.
“I did not agree with that conclusion and am glad that the county along with our top-notch state senator and representative were able to push for a solution. If the guidance devices prevent one accident, they have done their job and it was worth the effort. Now on to Lucky Stop Hill in Jeffersonville, where there is a great need for an emphasis on safety there. I am told that it might happen later this year or next year. We are all anxiously awaiting that project to begin and praying no more lives have to be lost to prove the point that it needs to be addressed as soon as possible,” she said.

Lacy said that the cabinet has used rumble strips as a countermeasure when vehicles are failing to come to a stop at an intersection.
“However, at this location the collision reports seem to indicate that vehicles are properly stopping for the intersection,” she told the Advocate. “The motorists are not judging the correct speed or gaps for the oncoming traffic. Safety for the motoring public is always our first priority.”

Alvarado said he supports anything that can be done ot help get drivers more focused at that intersection and potentially decrease accidents. However, he said that he just met with the Dept. of Transporation about a month ago in discussing the road plan and proposals and priortizing projects for all counties in the district.

At that meeting, Alvarado said he he reiterated the idea of installing rumble strips at the intersection.

“I think it (the interesction) is a bit of a conumdrum. There is a great line of sight there, you can see things well, so the Dept. of Transporation has been confused about whey we continue to have so many issues there. I think it is probably a perception problem. As people approach they may think oncoming vehciles are much further away, and cut into traffic,” he told the Advocate.

Alvarado said if the posts installed do make drivers more alert and aware, they will be benfecial.

“We will have to wait and see (if this helps).”
The senator said he would have to further analyze the accidents in this area as he wasn’t sure if they typically involved people from out of town who aren’t familiar with the roadway or those who are.

“ .... I don’t know if this is people getting distracated or if it really is a perception problem,” he said, adding that when he drives anywhere, particularly areas that aren’t familiar, he tries to be more alert and pay more attention, which he advises all drivers to do.

Local officials have said in the past that while reducing the speed limit on the bypass to 45 miles per hour has helped decrease the number of accidents there, the inersection has remained a dangerous spot.
While the intersection also contains a caution light and stop sign, there have been pleas following accidents there for a traffic light to be intstalled.

The state is responsible for any project related to this intersection as the bypass is a state maintained roadway.

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