Crash-prone Miami County intersection may get roundabout after semi hit house

ODOT is applying for funding to turn the Bethel Twp. intersection of Ohio 571 and Ohio 201 north of Huber Heights into a roundabout

Credit: Marshall Gorby

Credit: Marshall Gorby

BETHEL TWP., Miami County — A southern Miami County intersection where several traffic collisions have occurred is being considered for installation of a roundabout, nine months after a semi smashed through a house near the corner with a resident inside.

The Ohio Department of Transportation District 7 Office in Sidney recently notified Jamie Fisher — who was inside the house when the semi plowed through it around 6:30 p.m. March 30 — that an application for funding for a one-lane roundabout would be filed with the state.

The application follows competition of a study at the intersection of Ohio 571 and Ohio 201, said Loryn Bryson, public information officer for the District 7 Deputy Director’s Office. The intersection is in a rural/suburban area between Tipp City and New Carlisle, five miles north of the I-70 interchange in Huber Heights.

“This data is going to be used to apply for funding for a roundabout. Applying for the funding is the first step in a multi-step process and a project of this nature can take several years before construction, if funded,” Bryson said via email this week.

The house where the Fishers lived was removed after it was heavily damaged by the semi in March. Jamie Fisher’s husband, Dave Fisher, said the house had been hit at least two times before when his great-grandparents owned it in the late 1960s or ‘70s and again in 1982 when a vehicle made a large hole in the east wall.

The Fishers now live nearby in a recently renovated schoolhouse. Dave Fisher said a collision there Saturday did not involve significant injury but added he never knows what he will see after a crash occurs.

Credit: Marshall Gorby

Credit: Marshall Gorby

Jamie Fisher said Wednesday she hopes the intersection improvements can be made sooner rather than later.

“Our house may be gone, but the danger is still very real, as we witnessed Saturday night,” she said. “My children drive on this stretch of the road, people we care about drive through the intersection daily. This needs to be addressed now. Not years from now,” Jamie Fisher said.

Jamie Fisher emailed ODOT in May asking it to consider replacing the existing flashing light at the intersection with a full traffic light. She pointed out that a new elementary school was opening not far away at the Bethel Schools in the fall 2023.

“A traffic light is needed before anymore tragedies happen on that corner. My children go to Bethel, they alone don’t need any more tragedies,” she wrote.

The Fishers shared the string of emails with ODOT representatives. The emails include information on the process ODOT engineers and others followed in looking at the intersection. This included the traffic impact study done for the new Bethel school, a history of the intersection and traffic movement counts.

Options were reviewed. The “analysis indicates that a single-lane roundabout would provide the greatest crash reduction and the best operations,” Mary E. Hoy, an ODOT planning engineer wrote in an email.

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