Huber Heights officials will consult with the city’s chamber of commerce and business owners before making a decision on whether — and how — to reconstruct the intersection of New Carlisle Pike, Lower Valley Pike and Ohio 4.
The city has been exploring updates to the intersection since 2016 , when several fatal accidents drew attention to the stretch.
A study done by the city and an engineering firm, and initially eyeballed by the Ohio Department of Transportation, has proposed two fixes to crossing the road, both of which include the use of U-turns to redirect traffic.
The first option, known as “Alternative 5A,” would allow traffic on Ohio 4 to continue to turn onto New Carlisle Pike and Lower Valley Pike, but would require oncoming traffic to turn right, then onto a U-turn to go left, at which point a motorist could continue in the opposite direction or turn onto the opposing road.
The second option, known as “Alternative 5B,” would eliminate the intersection entirely and prohibit Ohio 4 traffic from making direct left turns onto either New Carlisle Pike or Lower Valley Pike, instead requiring all motorists wishing to cross the highway to use one of two opposing U-turns.
The city estimates Alternative 5A would be built for a grand total of $1 million, though the city would likely only contribute around 20 percent with ODOT funds covering the remainder. Alternative 5B could cost a grand total of $701,000 with the same funding ratio.
Alternatively, the city could close the intersection entirely. Closing the intersection, however, could be problematic for truck drivers needing to access businesses on New Carlisle Pike, or the residents of a mobile home park east of Ohio 4 outside the Huber Heights city limits, whose westbound options out of their neighborhood would require a trip on Interstate 70.
In 2016, the Huber Heights Chamber of Commerce suggested adding flashing lights and signage on Ohio 4 as a way to caution drivers instead of blocking off the intersection.
Councilman Seth Morgan questioned whether spending the money on the intersection was worthwhile.
“It’s hard for me to sit here and listen to this and hear of tragic accidents, etc., and not be concerned, I am concerned,” Morgan said during a presentation. “But when I first saw this, what ran through my head was we have a lot of other areas throughout the city that I think I would tackle first from a design, aesthetic, dealing with problems standpoint, but maybe it’s because I don’t drive that road everyday.”
One of those fatal crashes involved a Springfield man, Robert Bayless, 63, who died traveling south on Ohio 4 on a foggy morning in November 2015 when a truck tried to cut across to turn north. Bayless’ vehicle hit and went under the tractor-trailer.
“Not only is it a bad intersection, but the fog made it 10 times worse,” said Sgt. Chris Johnson after the crash.
The city attempted to make fixes, including forcing trucks on New Carlisle Pike to turn right and exit at Chambersburg Road before re-entering the highway northbound.
But in September 2016, Richard Serow, 77, and Craig Serow, 48, both of Enon, died when the silver Honda they drove pulled off New Carlisle Pike into the path of a northbound Ford truck on Ohio 4. The vehicles collided and slid off the right side of Ohio 4, where the Honda flipped onto its side, throwing the men through the car.
The issue is expected to be readdressed at upcoming council sessions.
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