Intersection may lose traffic light
By Dean Shipley
It’s an intersection where an entire family died April 24, 2011, through no fault of its own.
Returning from a holiday family outing, Tom Bunsey, his wife and two sons were on state Route 38 southbound. As they crossed U.S. Route 40, an eastbound motorist ignored the red light at the traffic signal and slammed into the Bunsey’s Jeep Cherokee. All of them died. The driver of the 1987 Buick wagon which did the deed, was transported to the hospital, where he later died.
Carol Daniels, principal of London Elementary School, was struck and seriously injured in an automobile accident there. As she crossed U.S. 40 and started to head west, she was struck in the eastbound lane.
Does a green light on state Route 38 give motorists a false sense of security when crossing U.S. 40?
Now there’s a study afoot at that intersection.
According to a statement from District 6 of ODOT, it is studying the signal at the intersection of U.S. 40 and state Route 38 “to see if it’s warranted.”
“There was an opportunity to upgrade the signal, but before ODOT upgrades it, we want to see if the signal’s warranted since traffic volumes are low,” the statement reads.
To inform motorists of the study, signs were installed at the intersection Thursday “to notify the public that the signal is under study for removal. The signs will remain up for 30 days while we gather motorist input. After 30 days, ODOT will take the next step, based on what we hear from the public.”
The office manager of a business at the intersection Aaron’s Truck and Equipment has seen the sign about the study and thinks the traffic signal should remain in place.
“I don’t agree the light should be removed,” Emily Sesnowich said.
She understands traffic is light at the intersection but “it’s hard to see traffic going east and west if you’re headed south.”
Caddy corner lies the Farm Science Review (FSR). Nate Douridas, farm manager, said he was “glad to see their posting well ahead of any removal.”
He said if the signal were removed it would have minimal impact on the review, specifically during its three-day show in September. He said the FSR hires the Ohio Highway Patrol and deputies from the Madison County Sheriff’s Office for traffic control. It also receives a special permit to close down the state route during FSR.
“I know there have been accidents there in the past,” Douridas said. “ODOT is studying to see if there is a better solution to a true traffic light.”
Madison County Sheriff Jim Sabin said he informed attendees to the Local Emergency Planning Commission on Friday of the study.
“I would have some concerns having that light completely removed at this point,” Sabin said Friday. “Most crashes we’ve observed at that intersection are related to running the red light on both sides.”
He felt because of the truck traffic to Honda and related facilities north stop signs on state Route 38 would not be a good idea.
Central Townships Fire Chief Brian Bennington said he is “vehemently opposed” to removing the light.
“There are people pulling out in that intersection all of the time from 38,” he said. “Putting stop signs back up certainly is going to increase the risk.”