July 24, 2016

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Montville Twp. intersection to get flashing lights

By Loren Genson and Steve Grazier

MONTVILLE TWP. — Flashing lights will be added to stop signs on Poe Road at state Route 57 as a quick fix for the intersection, which was the site of five crashes last month.

But township trustees say a better solution would be converting the intersection into a roundabout.

Two drivers were injured Dec. 21 in a three-vehicle crash involving a school bus, semitrailer and car at state Route 57 and Poe Road in Montville Township. It was one of five accidents at the intersection in December. (GAZETTE FILE PHOTO)

The intersection was the subject of a meeting Friday between the trustees and Allen Biehl, deputy director of the Ohio Department of Transportation’s District 3.

The trustees sought the meeting after renewing their request for an overhead “red-yellow-green” traffic signal at the intersection.

Biehl all but ruled out the traffic signal, saying that ODOT conducts studies to determine whether an intersection handles enough traffic to warrant a signal.

“Quite honestly, when we did the study, it didn’t even come close,” he said.

But Biehl said ODOT would install flashing LED lights on the stop signs on Poe Road, which should help alert motorists as they approach Route 57.

“Especially at nighttime, it should capture motorists’ attention,” he said.

Biehl did not say exactly when the lights would be installed.

Jeff Brandon, chairman of the township’s board of trustees, said the flashing lights would help.

“Something’s got to be done to make that intersection safer,” he said.

There were seven crashes at that intersection last year, including the five in December.

Biehl suggested inclement weather was responsible for the crashes, not the road design.

Three of last month’s crashes happened within 24 hours. The most serious was an early Dec. 21 crash that critically injured a 63-year-old Medina County corrections officer.

James Sell, of Wadsworth, was eastbound on Poe Road about 7 a.m. when he went through the stop sign at Route 57, crashing into a northbound tractor-trailer and careening into a Medina County Achievement Center bus.

Sell has been hospitalized since the crash. First listed in critical condition, he has been upgraded to fair condition for the past week.

The trustees said the township would like to see the intersection converted into a roundabout and welcomed ODOT’s support for the project.

Biehl said his office would help the township if trustees wanted to apply for grant money to convert the intersection into a roundabout.

“We can submit that on your behalf,” he said.

Biehl said a roundabout would cut down on crashes caused from rear-end collisions because of people turning left.

He said the township has something in its favor: Montville owns most of the land needed for a roundabout. He said it was possible for Montville to use the land as its contribution to the project, which would increase the chances of getting grant money.

“If you can pass a resolution approving a roundabout, we can help you get the paperwork filed for the grant,” he said.

The township owns three of the four corner properties around the intersection. Poe United Methodist Church, 6712 Wadsworth Road, has control of the southwest corner lot.

Trustee Ron Bischof pointed out that a roundabout was included in the township’s master plan.

“We should try and promote something like this,” Bischof said.

Brandon agreed that a roundabout would “beautify the town center.”

“It’s what we call the ‘center of town,’ and a roundabout would be a nice idea,” he said.

Trustee Sally Albrecht voiced support for a roundabout.

The deadline for the next round of safety grants is April.

The trustees said they would discuss the issue further at their next meeting in February.

Contact reporter Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or lgenson@medina-gazette.com. Contact reporter Steve Grazier at (330) 721-4012 or sgrazier@medina-gazete.com.

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