Additional Safety Measures Sought on South Point Road - The Missourian: News

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Additional Safety Measures Sought on South Point Road

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Posted: Thursday, May 24, 2012 7:30 am | Updated: 7:16 pm, Sat Jun 22, 2013.

A resident in the Stone Crest subdivision is requesting more safety measures be implemented along South Point Road.

What complicates the issue, however, is that part of the road lies within the Washington city limits and the other part in Franklin County and part of the road is maintained by the Washington Special Road District.

The resident, who asked to not be named, estimates that about 900 residents live in the area near what he calls a “high-volume, high-speed residential road.”

He said the road has changed from a rural road to a residential road and has become more used by pedestrians and bicyclists.

He requested a traffic analysis to measure and quantify current road conditions and for the county to evaluate warning signs and speed limits as well as more law enforcement patrolling the roads.

The resident has talked about the issue to Terry Wilson, Franklin County First District Commissioner, and Mark Hidritch, Ward 2 city councilman.

Bernie Westhoelter, Washington Special Road District commissioner, said the district added shoulders on both sides of the road for safety several years ago.

Over the next few years, Westhoelter said the district does not plan to add any warning signs, but will upgrade its existing signs, under a federal mandate that requires all counties, cities and road districts to install signs with increased reflectivity by 2015.

Some speed limit signs will be enlarged, Westhoelter added.

Currently, there is a yield sign on North Goodes Mill Road where it intersects with South Point Road.

He does not believe the amount of traffic warrants a stop sign. “The yield sign works well there,” Westhoelter said. “You don’t use stop signs to control speed.”

Any requests for signs along the road would have to go through the special road district, which would ask the county to review the signs, according to Joe Feldmann, highway engineer.

According to Eva Gadcke, Franklin County highway administrator, any change to the speed limit would be through a request by the road district to the county.

Enforcement

Sgt. Thomas Leasor, of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, wrote a letter to the resident, stating, “Your request to put a deputy on South Point Road every day would not be productive in the sense of reducing traffic crashes, injury crashes and fatalities.”

Leasor said placing a deputy in that area for one hour each day would draw officers away from patrolling areas with higher injury crash rates.

However, Leasor wrote that deputies will continue to “make our presence known as time and the need dictates” along the road.

The resident also met with Sgt. Chris Patton, of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, in October of 2011 to discuss the road. Patton informed the resident that one of the patrol’s troopers can be assigned specifically to South Point Road.

“They (highway patrol troopers) have been instructed, when manpower permits, to increase patrol on South Point Road and to take appropriate enforcement action on observed violations of Missouri law,” Col. Ronald Replogle, highway patrol superintendent, wrote in a letter to the resident.

Washington police have a limited area of jurisdiction on the road.

All three law enforcement agencies stressed that they are committed to safe roadways.

Accident History

Leasor reviewed accident history along the road and noted between 2007 and 2011, there have been a total of eight crashes, with only one of those involving injuries.

However, on the night of April 23, 2012, a driver was injured near the intersection of South Point and North Goodes Mill roads.

The city of Washington conducted a traffic study along a 1.6-mile section of the road between Stone Crest Drive and Bieker Road in May of 2009.

At that time, the average daily traffic count was 681 vehicles. The average speed for all vehicles during this time was 37 mph, with 61.1 percent of vehicles exceeding the posted 35 mph posted limit.

The study also showed that 2.1 percent of the vehicles along South Point Road during that time frame were small trucks and 0.6 percent were trucks or buses and 0.2 percent were tractor-trailers.

The resident said since the area has grown, a more current study needs to be taken to get a more accurate measure of traffic volumes and speeds and noted that the number of bigger trucks has increased since 2009.

A second study was requested in January of 2012, but City Engineer Dan Boyce said the city’s traffic committee “feels that not anything more is warranted.”

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