BIDWELL — The Ohio Department of Transportation announced Thursday it is planning a roundabout as a safety improvement measure for a Gallia intersection.
The roundabout is being planned for the intersection of Ohio 160 and Ohio 554 at Bidwell and is slated for construction in 2021.
A news release received by Ohio Valley Publishing from ODOT said, “This will be the county’s first roundabout. The intersection was among those on Governor Mike DeWine’s list of priority intersections released in 2019. From 2014-2018 there were 17 crashes at this location, 10 of which resulted in injuries… Roundabouts are proven to be safer than signalized intersections. The number of crashes at roundabouts is generally lower, and crashes that do occur are typically less severe than those that occur at signalized intersections.”
Officials said a meeting discussing details of the project will be announced in coming months.
Ohio Valley Publishing requested records of crashes at the intersection in February 2016 when concerns were brought to light by several area parents part of a social media group addressing traffic issues in the area. Parents voiced their fears of what they considered a hazardous intersection when a young woman had reportedly been airlifted to a nearby hospital after being in a crash between a pickup and a sedan at the same intersection.
River Valley middle and high schools are just a short distance from the intersection, which is located roughly a mile north of the schools’ main entrance that connects with State Route 160.
According to Ohio State Highway Patrol Statistical Analysis Unit records and information previously published by Ohio Valley Publishing, there had been no fatalities recorded at the intersection between 2009 to 2016. In 2009, records showed two injury crashes.
In 2010, there were five injury crashes and one property damage crash. In 2011, one crash injured an individual and two property damage crashes were recorded. Records showed for 2012 that two injury crashes and two property damage crashes occurred. Three injury crashes and two property damage crashes were recorded in 2013.
Records for 2014 said that the intersection played host to five separate injury crashes as well as two property damage crashes. In 2015, records showed there being one injury crash and two property damage crashes. Between January and February 2016, there were two injury crashes. Total collisions recorded over the time period between 2009 to February 2016 numbered at 33, with 21 injury crashes and 12 property damage crashes.
ODOT representatives in 2016 said they were contemplating solutions to address public concerns with the intersection and installed 48-inch LED stop signs along Ohio 554 with discussions at the time for a traffic study.
An ODOT representative was quoted at the time as saying it is “difficult to engineer driver behavior.” There will always be drivers that drive irresponsibly.
Dean Wright is a staff reporter with Ohio Valley Publishing and can be reached at 740-446-2342.