Is the creation of a speed trap the answer?
I see in the June 19th edition of The Inter-Mountain that the DOH is still looking at the stretch of highway in Buckhannon in light of the most recent fatality. At the risk of beating the subject to death or being told to mind my own business I’d like to refer you readers to U.S. Rt. 19 south from Fayetteville to Oak Hill.
Four intersections have been constructed or reconstructed with no traffic lights; indeed they are just like the on/off ramps on the interstate system. Cross traffic becomes “across” traffic, an overpass of the main highway and no lights on Rt. 19. Drawbacks are an eight mile stretch of 55mph speed zone and several lights for side roads. It’s a very boring drive and the locals fudge the speed limit as if it were a privilege. I’ve travelled this highway for years and on Sunday afternoons that speed limit bottlenecks traffic in several places.
Don’t even try to tell me something similar can’t be done at Buckhannon. The U.S. Army and Navy can build temporary or even permanent bridges in a very short time. War waits on no man. How many more will die before they get around to a solution that will both save lives and keep the traffic moving?
If you put lights at Childers and Kesling Mills and lower the speed limit to 55 mph you may as well create a permanent position of traffic control and enforcement and put an officer out there all day long. It will be a great source of revenue because most people simply aren’t going to obey it.
I remember in 2002 in a news article in this newspaper, Canada warned its citizens to stay out of West Virginia when they went south because of the speed traps in Summersville and Nicholas counties along the four mile 50 mph stretch of road there. The bulletin said approximately 22,000 citations were issued in 2001 on that short span of highway, many of them to Canadians. I have no idea if it’s still happening to that degree. I do know that at the time the Nicholas County sheriff had at least 24 deputies, I saw the group picture.
For a long time a citizen erected a billboard south of town that read “You are leaving Summersville WV, home of the biggest speed trap in the east!” That says it all.
In summary, Randy Brooks is right when he says you can’t fix stupidity and human error. People die every day getting T-boned at speeds under 5 5mph because their mind is somewhere else or they can’t judge the speed of approaching cars. The WVDOT and the DOH need to get on the stick and come up with a viable solution that is motorist friendly and argue about the cost later. A four lane road at 55 mph and stop lights every 200 yards is not the answer.