Brookfield Township officials recently met with Ohio Department of Transportation representatives to talk about the options for safety improvements at the Route 62 intersections with Bedford Road and Broadway Avenue in Masury.
While no decisions have been made, Brookfield officials concurred on what they believe are the best options, township Trustee Dan Suttles told the other trustees Nov. 25.
ODOT will schedule a public meeting for some time in the future before deciding what to do, he said.
Trustee Ron Haun, who did not attend the Nov. 20 meeting, said township officials have long asked for changes to the intersections, which allow traffic to cross the high-speed highway.
“We beat this into the ground with the county engineers,” Haun said. Broadway and Bedford are county-owned roads.
Suttles said he is aware of the long history of problems as he grew up on Third Street Extension, at the southwest corner of the Broadway intersection.
“I saw five people dead in my lifetime there, easy, as a kid, growing up,” he said.
The Sept. 20, 2018, crash in which a garbage truck pulled out from the stop sign at Bedford into the path of a minivan, killing a minivan passenger, seemed to get ODOT’s attention, Suttles said.
Shortly after the crash, ODOT announced it would conduct a safety study of the intersections, and hired EMH&T of Columbus to do the legwork.
Crash data showed there had been 27 crashes at Route 62 and Bedford between 2008 and 2017, one of them fatal and 17 with injuries, the study said. There were 23 crashes with eight injuries during the same time frame at Broadway.
promoThe consultant also counted vehicles during heavy traffic times. While the traffic counts did not show a lot of crossover traffic, crash reports indicated that 80 percent of the crashes at each intersection were caused by vehicles failing to yield while attempting to cross Route 62, the study said.
The crash and traffic volumes were not high enough to warrant traffic signals or turn lanes at the intersections, the study said.
The alternatives presented to officials for the Bedford Road intersection were:
1. Closing the crossover and allowing only right turns from Bedford onto Route 62, but building a restricted crossing U turn (RCUT). Motorists traveling on Route 62 and looking to cross the highway to exit onto Bedford would be allowed to enter a left-turn lane that would be built on each side of Route 62, taking them past the intersection. Motorists would cross Route 62 from the turn lane to an area off the road in which they could turn around and reenter Route 62 to head toward Bedford for a right-turn exit. Bedford motorists would have to travel onto Route 62 and use the RCUT to get back to Bedford.
2. Same as option one except the crossover would not be blocked by an extended median. Left-turn lanes would be built to allow Route 62 traffic to cross the highway and exit onto each leg of Bedford.
Alternatives for Broadway:
1. Severing the connection between Route 62 and the southern portion of Broadway. Motorists from the southern portion of Masury would have to use the cloverleaf to enter and exit Route 62.
2. Closing the crossover and building an RCUT.
3. Disallowing Broadway traffic to cross over to the other side or make left turns from Broadway to Route 62, but building left-turn lanes from Route 62 to each leg of Broadway.
4. Closing the crossover and allowing only right-in and right-out turns.
Suttles said he and representatives of the township’s police, fire and road departments, who also attended the meeting with ODOT, favored option two in both cases.
The traffic counts showed there is more crossover traffic on Bedford than Broadway, said Police Chief Dan Faustino. The preferred Bedford option would cause motorists to “an extra 20 seconds” to continue their trips, he said.
The Broadway option would send more traffic to the cloverleaf.
Suttles said that no matter what township officials prefer, “We want the public opinion to play a big part of the decision.”
“There’s a learning curve for the public,” he said of undertaking any of the options. “We’ll probably get some pushback, especially on Broadway, of people not being able, if we take that option, to cut across. You gotta look at the safety.”
Construction is not likely until 2022, Suttles said.
Haun said he will be “elated” with whatever option is chosen.
“If we save one life, it’s worth the inconvenience,” he said. “I’m just tickled pink.”