Clark County’s worst intersection gets $2.6M in safety upgrades

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Commissioner John Detrick explains how new traffic signals, more turn lanes and new safety signs to make the intersection of State Routes 4 and 68 in western Clark County.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

A lengthy list of upgrades to Clark County’s worst crash hot spot are intended to reduce rear-end crashes, county leaders said.

The Ohio Department of Transportation is in the midst of a $2.6 million project to add a traffic signal at the bottom of the ramp from U.S. 68 southbound to Upper Valley Pike and widen the ramp by adding an additional turn lane.

Other parts of the project include adding additional turn and through lanes in every direction of the interchange at Ohio 4, U.S. 40 and Upper Valley Pike.

“This is one of the busiest intersections in the Miami Valley and has one of the highest rates of accidents in Clark County,” Clark County Commissioner John Detrick said.

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Construction, if it stays on schedule, is expected to be done by the end of October.

The intersection ranks No. 1 on the county’s crash hot spot list because of the severity of the accidents, according to data from the Clark County-Springfield Transportation Coordinating Committee.

About 36,440 vehicles and 2,200 trucks entered the intersection per day as of 2014, according to the latest TCC traffic counts. Between 2010 and 2012, 72 crashes occurred there.

For years Detrick has been asking both state and county engineers to consider yellow flashing beacons on “Reduced Speed Ahead” signs and white LED flashing lights on 50 mph speed limit signs at Ohio 4, U.S. 40 and Upper Valley Pike.

Those signs are now up and running.

And they’re needed, said Gene Simpson, who lives nearby on Dartmouth Road.

“Those big truck can’t even slow down,” he said of many commercial trucks on Ohio 4 west of the junction. The speed limit on the state route is 70 mph before it drops to 50 mph.

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It’s the only location in the county where motorists see speed limits reduced by 20 mph before they reach an intersection where there are vehicles stopped at traffic lights, according to data from the transportation coordinating committee.

Flashing lights have been effective at curtailing speeding along southbound Interstate 75 before Stanley Avenue in Dayton where there is a lot of congestion, ODOT officials said at a previous meeting. The beacons alert drivers that traffic could be stopped.

Clark County commissioners have wanted to make changes to the intersection for 10 years, Detrick said.

The new light at the ramp from U.S. 68 onto Upper Valley Pike should lead to a drop in crashes, he said.

“So you don’t have to put your life in your hands every time you run across Upper Valley Pike,” he said.

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