Munson Trustees Discuss Signs, Lights at Intersection After Fatal Accident
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Munson Township Trustees started their meeting last Tuesday with a moment of silence for Nathan Peterson, who died less than half a mile away on Auburn early that morning.
Fire Chief Mark Lynn said his department responded to a call at about 7:25 a.m. at the intersection of Sherman and Auburn roads.
He said the 24-year-old Chardon man stopped at the Sherman Road stop sign, then pulled out into traffic where his car was struck.
EMTs and firefighters had to cut the vehicle apart to rescue Peterson, who still had a pulse when he was transferred to the helicopter, but died later that morning, Lynn said.
The chief said he was amazed that people knew who the victim was before the rescue squad did. Apparently, the sad news went out on Twitter or Facebook, he said.
“By noon, everybody in the county seemed to know what happened,” Lynn said.
The accident brought to the forefront the danger of the intersection, since it was improved earlier this summer.
The Geauga County Engineer’s Office spent weeks rebuilding the culvert through which the Chagrin River flows under the intersection.
Part of the reason given for straightening out the dog-leg intersection was that it needed to be wider so there would be better maneuverability for vehicles when north-south traffic stopped to turn.
At the meeting Tuesday evening, Trustee Todd Ray said Trustee Irene McMullen had volunteered to speak with the county engineer about what can be done to slow down traffic on Auburn Road and make drivers more aware of the issues there.
Lynn asked if a speed study would be required to get a blinking light at the intersection. It took three years to get approval from the state for the light at Mayfield and Bass Lake roads when the YMCA opened there, Ray said.
“They don’t act fast on these things,” Lynn said.
He noted the street light at that intersection has been out for some time, but that wasn’t a factor in Tuesday’s accident.
Sherman Road resident Kay Smith said speeds along the township road have increased since the intersection was rebuilt and Sherman was repaved.
She said Sherman Road has become a bypass for people who want to avoid traffic and the light on Mayfield Road.
Speeds along Auburn have increased since the bridge was replaced, estimating people drive 55 to 65 mph because of the long, open stretch of road.
There is a 45 mph sign just south of the intersection.
Smith said a “Dangerous Intersection” sign and a blinking light at the intersection wouldn’t be out of place since the baseball fields, fire department and playground are all located nearby.
The town hall and township road department are also within a few hundred yards of Auburn and Sherman roads.
The township has already asked the county to do a speed study on the area around the intersection, Ray said.
Trustee Andy Bushman said he is checking into the township buying a pole-mounted digital sign that informs drivers of their speed.
“It would be just to provide feedback to the drivers,” Ray said.
In other business, Lynn said the fire department is part of a block of townships interested in installing Opticon units at traffic lights in the township.
The t signal preemption system allows the normal operation to be changed to assist emergency vehicles.
The strobe light from the fire department vehicle that triggers the signal change would be turned on in the vehicle, turning the light green for the emergency vehicles and red for drivers approaching the intersection from the other three directions, Lynn said.
The installation has to be approved by the state when a signal involves a state road and there are fees involved, he said, adding Chester Fire Chief John Wargelin is checking into costs and other details.
Some funding may be available, and Chardon and possibly Russell would be included in the program, Lynn said.
Munson has three traffic lights, he added.