Metcalfe County magistrates have recently discussed a need for lighting at the intersection of Ky. 90 and Ky. 163 south of Edmonton, but the crossing does not meet minimum requirements for lights, according to Kentucky Transportation Cabinet officials.
Earlier this week, Magistrate Scotty Mosby told Metcalfe Fiscal Court he had spoken to Sen. David Givens, R-Greensburg, about the issue.
Givens told Mosby he would work with Greg Meredith, district engineer for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s District Three office in Bowling Green, to try to fix the situation.
“Prompted by constituent concerns expressed soon after construction was completed, I began requesting input from the cabinet as to the safety of the Ky. 90-Ky. 163 intersection,” he said.
The intersection was relocated in 2013, during improvement work on Ky. 163.
An intersection must meet certain requirements in order for KYTC to install lighting, all of which is approved by KYTC’s central office in Frankfort.
According to the state, an intersection is eligible for lighting if any of the following conditions are met:
•Three or more nighttime crashes occur at the intersection in a three-year period;
•Minimum vehicular volume or interruption of continuous traffic warrant criteria is satisfied on a typical night for at least a one-hour period between the hours of 9 p.m. and 5 a.m.;
•The number of vehicles turning left multiplied by the number of vehicles traveling straight that would conflict with the left turn exceeds 25,000 for a two-lane highway and 50,000 for a four-lane highway during a one-hour period between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m.;
•The intersection has a curb island or median separating the the road and 85 percent of the drivers approaching the intersection exceed 40 mph.
In an email to the Daily Times this week, Meredith saids, “None of these minimum requirements for intersection lighting have been met for this location.”
On Friday, when Mosby learned the intersection didn’t meet the state’s criteria for lighting, he said he would still like to see the intersection illuminated in some way.
“I think the rest of the court would like to [as well],” he said. “It’s a very dangerous spot.”
On Jan. 12, a three-vehicle collision claimed the life of 19-year-old Colleen Collee of Indianapolis and injured several others.
Since that incident, the KYTC has installed larger stop signs and doubled the amount of signage at the intersection. In addition, thermoplastic rumble strips have been installed in four locations on the northbound and southbound lanes of Ky. 163.
“I guess we’re going to see how these rumble strips work,” Mosby said. “I would greatly hate to lose any more lives over there.”
Mosby isn’t alone. Several people would still like to see lighting installed at the intersection, including Metcalfe County Judge-Executive Greg Wilson, who wants improved lighting even though he says the rumble strips have helped.
Rep. Bart Rowland, R-Tompkinsville, also seemed undeterred by the state’s position on lighting at the intersection.
“I can assure I will continue to press central office for lighting at that intersection. I do think it is needed,” he said.
Drivers who stopped Friday morning at a convenience store near the intersection agreed that some type of lighting is needed.
“It wouldn’t hurt anything,” said Gerald Dubree, of Tompkinsville.
Dubree also believes the rumble strips has been a positive addition.
“I feel like they help, especially for people who don’t know the road,” he said.
Before the crossing was relocated, a caution light illuminated the intersection, but it was not reinstalled when the road work was completed.
Ike Stilts of Summer Shade thinks the caution light needs to be put back into place. If it can’t, then possibly street lights should be erected.
Tracy Cecil of Cumberland County echoed those thoughts.
“It needs caution lights or something,” she said. “They need to do something.”
Cecil’s husband and father pass through the intersection on a regular basis and have nearly been involved in collisions, she said.
Rob Full, a truck driver who often travels the area, thinks reinstalling the caution light would be a good idea.
“They do have the signs up,” he said, adding that while the rumble strips help get motorists’ attention, the intersection remains difficult to see.
Metcalfe County Sheriff Rondal Shirley also endorses the reinstallation of the caution light would be good.
“The rumble strips are definitely a plus. I’m not sure they’ve got them far enough back,” he said. “The other time they had the caution light and didn’t have the [rumble] strips. I think the strips alert them better than the light does, [but] it would be a big plus.”
Shirley has personally investigated several crashes at the intersection, but none of the fatalities that have occurred there.
Meredith pointed out that the Jan. 12 crash occurred during daylight, so intersection lighting would not have made a difference.
KYTC also plans to place thermoplastic “stop ahead” signage on the pavement on both sides of Ky. 163 when temperatures allow.
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