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Crash again highlights one of Butler County’s trouble intersections, but a fix is coming

Butler County’s Jacksonburg and State Route 73 intersection was once listed as the fifth most dangerous in the state by the Ohio Department of Transportation. The intersection near Trenton is now scheduled to be converted into a roundabout that will open August 2020.
Butler County’s Jacksonburg and State Route 73 intersection was once listed as the fifth most dangerous in the state by the Ohio Department of Transportation. The intersection near Trenton is now scheduled to be converted into a roundabout that will open August 2020.

It’s the sort of list Wayne Township Trustee Mike Truster is happy to be off.

For decades, an intersection in his rural Butler County community was among the most dangerous in the area, and at one state transportation officials said it was the fifth most hazardous in Ohio.

ExploreMORE: See where Butler County’s 12 most dangerous intersections are located

Truster got the latest reminder Thursday of the risk associated with the Jacksonburg Road and State Route 73 intersection when a car struck a semi-trailer truck, sending the car’s driver to a local hospital.

The driver was treated and released, but that was little comfort to Truster.

ExploreMORE: Car and truck collide at notoriously dangerous Butler County intersection

“That’s a bad spot and a lot of people have been hurt and killed there over the years,” he said.

ExploreMORE: Jacksonburg intersection’s dangers make it candidate for a roundabout 

Hope for a safer interchange is on its way as a roundabout is scheduled to replace the traditional intersection by August 2020 in a $3 million project.

“There is a hill there and farm equipment and trucks travel through it (intersection). But at least something is happening there to make it better,” he said.

Roundabouts often vastly improve crash incidents compared to traditional four-way stop intersections, traffic research has shown.

The roundabouts are becoming increasingly common sights in Butler County communities.

A lot of factors determine whether an intersection is more likely to have a higher record of accidents, said Brian Cunningham, spokesman for the Ohio Department of Transportation’s District 8 office, which oversees much of Southwest Ohio.

Cunningham said that “contributing factors to a dangerous intersection can include site distance and vegetation, also in rural areas farm crops can be problematic in the summer but not in the winter.”

Also possible contributors to raising risks are “hills, curves, angle/alignment of other routes near the intersection,” he said.

Officials at the Butler County Engineer’s Office said roundabouts almost always improve intersection safety.

There are now 22 roundabouts in the county with six more planned between 2019 and 2022 in addition to the in the next two years, including the coming ODOT project at the Jacksonburg and SR 73 location, said officials.

The Butler County Engineer’s Office has compiled statistics and found that its roundabouts have resulted ina 60 percent reduction in overall crashes, 80 percent fewer injury crashes and 100 percent reduction in serious and fatal crashes.

Butler County Engineer Greg Wilkens has noted that “we’ve indeed found the modern roundabout to be a safer, more efficient alternative to traditional intersections at certain locations. The number and severity of accidents have been substantially reduced where our roundabouts have been installed, so they are doing their job.”

In a 2017 statement about roundabouts, Wilkens said “there are the roundabout’s inherent safety features. Stop signs and signals do not guarantee that motorists will stop. Roundabouts act as traffic calming devices, which force drivers to slow down. Any accidents that may occur are almost always less severe.”

Truster said he hopes a roundabout will keep the Jacksonburg and SR 73 intersection off the most dangerous list.

“Only time will tell if a roundabout is the answer,” he said.

The Journal-News asked the state for its list of high-crash intersections. Here are the top 12 in Butler County:

1. US-127 (Hamilton-Eaton Rd) at SR-73

2. SR-4 (Hamilton-Middletown Rd) at SR-747 (Princeton-Glendale Rd)

3. SR-4B (Bypass) at CR-18 (Princeton Rd)

4. SR-747R (Princeton-Glendale Rd) at CR-20 (Tylersville Rd)

5. SR-4 (Hamilton-Middletown Rd) at CR-113 (Liberty Fairfield Rd)

6. SR-4 (Hamilton-Middletown Rd) at SR-4B (Bypass)

7.SR-73 (Oxford State Rd) at TR-179 (T-179)

8. SR-747R (Princeton-Glendale Rd) at CR-2821 (Symmes Rd)

9. SR-747R (Princeton-Glendale Rd) at CR-115 (Muhlhauser Rd)

10. SR-4B (Bypass) at CR-2821 (Symmes Rd)

11. SR-122 (Roosevelt Blvd) at CR-600 (Breil Blvd)

12. SR-4 (S Erie Blvd) at CR-21A (Grand Blvd)

Source: Ohio Department of Transportation.

Note: This list includes those intersections that involve a state or U.S. route