After man’s death, Huber seeks safer intersection

Short-term solution sought now while city works with state on permanent options.

Less than a month after a Springfield man was killed at the intersection of New Carlisle Pike and State Route 4 in Huber Heights, the city’s Public Works Committee granted city engineer Russell Bergman permission to move forward with plans to make the roadway safer.

“It’s always been a bad intersection,” Bergman said.

Drivers who wish to turn left, or head north, on State Route 4 off New Carlisle Pike must cross four lanes of traffic to do so. Smaller vehicles can make use of the median, but larger vehicles, like tractor-trailer rigs, must do it all at once.

Police Chief Mark Lightner said that Huber Heights police have responded to 11 injury accidents at the intersection in the last three years.

Last week, this news organization talked to drivers as they approached the intersection.

“It’s very scary,” said Tracie Puckett. “There’s absolutely no way you can cross all of the traffic at once.”

On a foggy morning in November, 63-year-old Robert Bayless of Springfield lost his life after his vehicle collided with a commercial vehicle attempting to cut across Route 4. Huber Heights had already planned to work with ODOT to make some infrastructure changes to New Carlisle Pike in 2016, but Bergman said the accident makes a “short-term” solution more pressing.

In a public letter to the city, resident Rich Moore suggested posting signs that would require semis weighing more than 800 tons to turn right at the intersection of New Carlisle Pike and Route 4, exit at Chambersburg Road and merge onto Route 4 northbound via the Chambersburg ramp.

“I travel through that intersection frequently, and I’ve seen many near accidents,” Moore said.

The city discussed Moore’s suggestion during a Public Works meeting Wednesday night.

Jim McNulty, general manager of DBS Presetress in Huber Heights, said he works with truckers to move his product on Route 4 daily. While in favor of any kind of fix, McNulty said Moore’s suggestion would be temporary at best because the Chambersburg Road ramp is too narrow a turn for most oversized trucks.

Bergman said he is engaging all of the trucking companies that make use of the intersection in the conversation. He added that, because Route 4 is managed by the state, there is a limit to the changes the city can implement.

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