Tuesday, November 07, 2000

Road projects aim for safety

Warren County works to ease hazards for rural drivers

By Cindi Andrews
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LEBANON — The top of a hill is not the best place for an intersection, as the residents of Kirby and Hart roads can attest.

        They hear the screech of tires when one car unknowingly turns in front of another in this rural area just north of Lebanon. They hear the revving of engines when motorcycles line up in the intersection at night to race to the bottom of the hill.

        “They just fly,” Hart Road resident Sonya Staffan said.

        For the past few weeks, though, Mrs. Staffan and others instead heard the sounds of bulldozers com pleting a Warren County road project that should permanently curb the screeching and revving.

        “Hopefully, it won't seem as cool,” she said, to race down the hill now that the county is lopping 3 feet off the top.

        The work at the Hart-Kirby intersection is part of an unprecedented effort to make the county's rural roads safer. The county is wrapping up about $5.5 million in projects this year and plans $6.7 million in projects next year.

        The county commissioners have devoted general fund money to the effort more to improve safety than to add lanes, county Commissioner Larry Crisenbery said.

        Other intersections that have been targeted include Ohio 741 at Greentree Road, west of Lebanon — the site of several fatalities — and Ohio 123 at Waynesville Road, between Lebanon and Morrow.

        “It's just a ticking bomb waiting to go off,” Mr. Crisenbery said.

        Warren's country roads were built decades ago, when there was little residential traffic competing with farm equipment, says County Engineer Neil Tunison. The roads often are narrower, more winding and steeper than those built under today's standards, he said.

        “The problem is you're seeing your rural roads becoming suburban,” Mr. Tunison said. “There's a lot of caution required that (new residents) aren't used to.”


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