Newbury Twp. on ODOTs List of Top 100 for Serious Crashes
"This is not the kind of 'Top Ten' we want to be in." Glen Quigley
Newbury Township has received a “Top 100″ distinction in Ohio that township officials were not celebrating last week.
It was named as one of the most dangerous townships in the state for serious traffic crashes by the Ohio Department of Transportation.
Newbury Township Trustees and Fire Chief Doug Zimperman said they were dismayed by the distinction during their Dec. 11 meeting.
They also said they did not agree with ODOT’s 2008-20012 statistics, which show 100 crashes in the township during the four-year period. Roads with the highest number of crashes included Pekin, Music, Munn, Stone and Zenith.
A Nov. 18 letter from ODOT Local Program Administrative Assistant Victoria Beale told trustees that, as one of the top 100 townships for severe crashes, it qualifies for up to $50,000 in state grant money to upgrade its signage.
“The Ohio Department of Transportation’s Office of Local Programs is pleased to notify you of your township’s eligibility to apply for a grant under the new Township-wide Systematic Signage Upgrade Program,” the letter began.
Trustees, however, did not seem pleased at the reason for the distinction.
“I don’t know that’s accurate,” Trustee Glen Quigley said.
Zimperman, who also serves as township road superintendent, said maybe they’re including deer collisions.
“I don’t know where they get their numbers from,” he said.
Quigley questioned the accompanying ODOT map that showed 33 crashes on Pekin Road during that time period, with a high concentration between Fairgate Drive and Auburn Road.
“That’s a straight road,” the trustee said, adding another hot spot shown on the map — the intersection of Munn Road and Music Street — has always been dangerous because of a hill and poor visibility.
Quigley said he talked to ODOT officials, who recommended improved signage, increased law enforcement and improving public awareness of the problem areas.
He said he will work with the Geauga County Engineer’s Office to develop a specific signage plan and will submit the grant application before the Jan. 21 deadline.
“Hopefully it will have the desired effect,” Quigley said. “This is not the kind of ‘Top Ten’ we want to be in.”
In other business, trustees decided to repair the road department’s salt shed instead of replacing it.
“We were thinking it would cost up to $250,000 to replace it, but significantly less for repairs,” Fiscal Officer Marcia Mansfield told trustees.
Quigley said the repairs will be made in the spring.
Early in the year, Zimperman told trustees the 40-year-old, 40-foot-by-80-foot wooden frame structure was literally falling apart at the seams, with corrosion wearing away at the nails holding up the building.
Trustees asked local contractors to inspect the building and they told trustees it needed to be replaced.
Trustee Bill Skomrock studied various structures and trustees discussed for several months the pros and cons of replacement versus repair.
“In my opinion, trusses and shingles are the problem,” Zimperman told trustees last Wednesday. He said the asphalt floor has a soft spot, but is otherwise in good shape.
“Drainage too,” Quigley said. “But we’ll worry about that later.”
Trustees said the structure will get new trusses and interior walls.
Quigley told Zimperman the shed would need to be emptied before repairs could begin, but the superintendent said that would be difficult.
“We have a contract for 500 tons of salt and emptying the shed could be a big problem,” Zimperman told trustees. “We can’t store it outside.”
Quigley said the salt could probably remain in the structure and covered with tarps during the repairs.
“If the foundation is good, we’ll be fine,” he said.
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