June 28, 2016

Mostly clear

Montville asking for traffic light at crash site

The intersection of state Route 57 and Poe Road was the site of two car accidents Dec. 21. (Medina Gazette photo by David Knox.)

MONTVILLE TWP. — Township trustees agreed Thursday to renew their request for a traffic signal light at Poe Road and state Route 57 in the wake of two crashes at the intersection Dec. 21.

The trustees directed township Police Chief Terry Grice to contact the Ohio Department of Transportation, which has jurisdiction over state Route 57.

The trustees first asked for a traffic light at the intersection last year, but ODOT rejected the request, saying a traffic study indicated it wasn’t warranted.

Grice told the trustees at their meeting Thursday that so far this year there have been six crashes — one serious — at the intersection.

But Grice doubted that would be enough to reverse ODOT’s decision.
“Six probably wouldn’t meet the criteria,” he said.

Trustee Sally Albrecht said she hoped the chief was wrong.

“That’s one every other month,” she said “That seems pretty serious.”

Grice said the state tends to look at how many deaths there are at an intersection.

“How many people have to die before ODOT does something?” Albrecht responded.

The trustees’ discussion followed two crashes within 10 hours at the intersection.

The first crash happened at 7:10 a.m. when a Buick sedan, eastbound on Poe Road, went through the stop sign at state Route 57 and crashed into a northbound semi.

The sedan’s driver, James G. Sell, a 63-year-old Medina County corrections officer, was taken to MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland, where he was listed in serious condition Thursday.

The second crash happened at 5:15 p.m., when an eastbound SUV also went through the stop sign, narrowly avoiding a head-on crash.
Both crashes were captured by a surveillance camera mounted at the corner atop the Montville Township Safety Service Center.

Ron Bischof, chairman of the township board of trustees, said ODOT has make some improvements, including a flashing yellow caution sign on state Route 57 to alert northbound traffic approaching the intersection and reducing the speed limit to 45 mph between Poe Road and the Interstate 71 overpass.

But if ODOT again rejects a traffic light, the township is limited in what it can do.

Township Roads Supervisor Dennis Clapper said ODOT maintains stoplights and stop signs at all intersections along state roads.
Clapper said the township could put up “dangerous intersection ahead” signs on Poe to warn drivers.

Albrecht suggested installing rumble strips on Poe leading up to the intersection. She said it would be similar to “Dead Man’s Curve” on the Interstate 90 Innerbelt in Cleveland, which employs rumble strips to alert drivers approaching the sharp bend.

Trustee Jeff Brandon said he agreed that rumble strips were a good idea, but Bischof said he thought they would annoy drivers.
“If we do that, we’re going to have people finding ways of avoiding the strip or taking different routes entirely,” he said.

Contact reporter Nick Glunt at (330) 721-4048 or nglunt@medina-gazette.com.

Nick Glunt About Nick Glunt

Nick Glunt primarily covers courts and crime in Medina County. He served The Gazette from September 2012 to December 2015. Contact him at (330) 721-4048 or via email at nglunt@medina-gazette.com.