Hoping for a fix

MARTINS FERRY – The city and state are responding to recent traffic accidents at hazardous intersections along Route 7.

Mayor Paul Riethmiller said the Ohio Department of Transportation was currently conducting a 90-day study of the intersection determining if a red arrow could be installed in place of a solid green arrow. If ODOT approves, the change could take place in May. He said a clear signal for motorists would have an effect on the crashes.

“That will fix most of the accidents,” he said, noting that recent accidents have been caused by speeding vehicles rear-ending the cars in front of them.

In a recent council meeting Service Director Charles Bennett Jr. reported on a recent meeting with ODOT and the railway company pertaining to work that is expected to take place in 2016 to increase safety.

“We will hope the Main safety improvements would occur sooner, but after attending I do not have much hope in an earlier date. Already we have had three more accidents on Route 7,” he said.

Police Chief John McFarland noted that the police department has increased patrols in the hazard areas to encourage motorists to slow down. He added that the most recent accidents were speed related or caused by driver inattention and failure to yield to oncoming traffic.

“Hopefully with the police presence down there, those people will be a little more cautions in the way that the travel,” McFarland said, agreeing that a change in the traffic light would be valuable.

“I’m really pushing for them to change the light configuration at Hanover Street.”

He said the traffic light’s green arrow gives traffic the right of way to turn into the northbound lane of Route 7. When the arrow disengages and leaves only a solid green light, motorists must yield to southbound traffic.

“A lot of accidents are caused by not yielding, making a left hand turn and getting hit,” he said.

He added that the city is awaiting the results of the ODOT study.

“I understand they have to go through their proper steps up there in order to do get things done. In the meantime we’re having major traffic accidents in town,” he said. “We prefer that would end sooner than later.”

DeFrank can be reached at rdefrank@timesleaderonline.com