Monroe considers ‘short-term’ safety measures at dangerous Ohio 63 intersection

Monroe may add left-turn only traffic lights at Ohio 63/Main Street after two people were killed in the intersection this year. City Manager Bill Brock said the change in lights will reduce the number of vehicles through the intersection. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
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Monroe may add left-turn only traffic lights at Ohio 63/Main Street after two people were killed in the intersection this year. City Manager Bill Brock said the change in lights will reduce the number of vehicles through the intersection. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Motorists may see delays if left-turn only arrows are added along busy state route.

Monroe City Council is considering following the recommendations of a safety study by adding left-turn only signals at the city’s busiest intersection and flashing lights that warn approaching motorists about the traffic lights.

Manager Bill Brock told council Tuesday night that three suggestions were made to the city following the safety study: wait for a full study before committing to capital improvements; make short-term safety improvements, then conduct full study; or make medium-term safety and capacity improvements, then full study.

The first option would cost the city no money but wouldn’t immediately address the safety concerns, Brock said. The second option would cost Monroe about $65,000 to change the lights and the third option would cost about $500,000 in capital improvements.

Brock said he agreed with the study from Paul Goodhue from Goodhue Consulting that included input from traffic engineers with CT Consultants and Ohio Department of Transportation District 8. Brock said the left-turn only signals would reduce the number of cars that get through the intersection.

From January 2017 to July 2021 there were 137 crashes at the Ohio 63/Main Street intersection with two fatalities and four serious injuries, according to the report. In a letter to Brock, Goodhue wrote that historical data shows that the “most dangerous crash types are happening too frequently” at the intersection.

On May 14, a double-fatal crash occurred at Ohio 63 and Main Street when a tractor-trailer and silver sedan collided. Marita Avery, 59, of Middletown, a classroom educational assistant at Crossroads Middle School, part of the Fairfield district, and her nephew, Anthony L. Mitchell, 26, were killed.

CT Consultants collected speed data at five locations on eastbound and westbound on Ohio 63 between Yankee Road and American Way. The data showed that the 85th percentile speed was at or above 50 mph. Goodhue said while the preliminary speed study suggested a 50 mph is appropriate, the analysis also concluded that a 45 mph may be permitted in conjunction with addressing safety issues and a focus on speed enforcement through the speed zone.

Brock said ODOT would not be able to perform a full safety study until 2025.

Mayor Jason Frentzel said the city “needs something sooner than that.”

Brock said he hopes to have the legislation available for council to vote on, possibly at the next meeting Sept. 28 depending on how long it takes to receive estimates.

IN OTHER NEWS:

  • Council approved lowering the speed limit from 35 to 25 on Lebanon Street after Paul Lane addressed council several times with his concerns and 70% of the residents on the street said they wanted lower speeds. Brock said new speed limit signs will be erected, possibly this week.
  • Council approved spending $23,822 for landscaping and $22,226 to purchase and install surveillance and security cameras at the police station.
  • Council approved spending $154,676 for two CAT 259 Skid Loaders and implements and $77,840 for a CAT 305 Excavator and implements for the Department of Public Works.
  • The dog park at 401 Old Street will be named Monrover Park after it was unanimously approved by council.
  • Finance Director Karen Ervin has left the city after three years to become treasurer of Lebanon City Schools district.