Sunday, February 04, 2001

Effort to end hill-hopping stymied

By Cindi Andrews
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        TURTLECREEK TWP. — The effort to end teens' hill-hopping on a township road is back at square one a year after it began.

        Turtlecreek residents and trustees were unimpressed this week with the latest choices: making McClure Road a dead-end or building a new road next to it.

        Warren County Engineer Neil Tunison, therefore, says his office may do another speed study in hopes of justifying reconstructing the hill that teens sometimes use as a ramp to lift their cars into the air at high speeds.

        “The speed reduction study really needs to be looked at more,” Mr. Tunison said.

        After two teens died in a November 1999 crash on the road, the county sought a reduced speed limit. The state denied the request because a county study found that speeds were mostly already lower than the 40-45 mph limit requested.

        A lower speed limit would not stop law-breakers, but it could make a plan to reconfigure the road more feasible. Road-building standards for 55 mph — the current speed limit — would require a drastic and expensive flattening of the road, Mr. Tunison says.

        A more moderate shaving and filling of the hill would be cheaper and still end the ramping, but that could only happen if McClure had a lower limit that would permit a shorter sight distance.

        Mr. Tunison looked into whether McClure residents could call themselves a subdivision and thus lower the speed limit to 25, but said it appeared that wouldn't work. Thus, the speed study.

        The shave-and-fill scenario appears to be the only one that more than a couple of residents could support.

        Some residents — perhaps a majority — want the road left alone.

        But owners of the two homes at the top and bottom of the hill say the teens don't only endanger themselves.

        “I don't want to be the person driving the other way when someone's hill-hopping,” Marty Kohler said.


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