To the editor:
Yet another bad accident at Blackburn Road on (last) Monday. Both vehicles looked totaled. The Engineer’s solution for that intersection is NOT working. You need to put in a light or eliminate left turns off Blackburn or some other solution. What you’ve done is not safe. Please take action on this intersection before some else gets hurt.
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I'm assuming this is in reference to the Blackburn Rd. crossing at U.S. Route 50... This isn't the only intersection of it's kind around Athens to have severe crashes along the US 33 and 50 "rural highways: Johnson Rd at US 33, Radford Rd at US 50, Pleasant Hill Rd at US 33, SR 682 at US 33 (connection to Chauncey), and Lake Snowden entrance at US 50 all have a similar severe crash history.
The "rural highway" design that has been adopted by ODOT for US 33 and 50 to streamline vehicle traffic through the region is the root cause for these crashes. US 33 and 50 are built similar to full blown freeways, and as such encourage speeds of 70+ mph, because to the driver, it seems safe to do so on a road with 2 wide lanes in each direction, a wide median, and sweeping curves. However, the need to build these rural highways without limited access through rural Southeast Ohio is a major safety design flaw when you add in all the country roads that must connect to these highways. Personally, I refer to blatant roadway design flaws like this as "engineering malpractice."
ODOT seems to believe that the only solution to this problem is to start restricting or closing the local road access on these rural highways, like they have done on US 33 at Johnson Rd, and sounds like they will soon be doing at the Chauncey SR 682 connection.
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