Accidents spark request for light at Mount Airy intersection

August 26, 1994|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,Sun Staff Writer

After two serious accidents in the past month at Watersville Road and Route 27, many Mount Airy residents are convinced that there should be a stop light at the intersection.

But in past State Highway Administration studies, the intersection did not meet the criteria for a signal.

"Due to the fact that it's being used every day during the school year by school buses, I think something has to be done," Mount Airy Mayor Gerald Johnson said.

"I know accidents happen as a result of driver negligence," he said. "My concern is that driver negligence will take a whole bus load of kids due to not having a signal there."

John Healy, a spokesman for the State Highway Administration, said that a 1993 study of the intersection didn't recommend the installation of a traffic light.

The intersection has a flashing red light for Watersville Road and a flashing yellow light for Route 27.

"In order for us to put a signal in an intersection, a list of criteria would have to be met," Mr. Healy said.

The criteria include traffic volume, number of accidents and sight distance.

According to SHA records, the intersection had four accidents in 1990, three in 1991 and two in 1992. The figures for 1993 aren't available yet, Mr. Healy said.

"The accident numbers don't seem to indicate a major problem," he said.

In the past two months, two serious accidents have happened at the intersection.

Five people, including two infants, were injured in a two-car crash July 27.

According to state police investigators, a Chevrolet Cavalier collided with a Dodge Caravan at the intersection.

The Cavalier was going west on Watersville Road and had stopped for the stop sign at Route 27. The motorist had pulled onto the highway while her view was obstructed by a van turning right on Watersville Road.

The accident sent a 4-month old child, who was in the Cavalier, to the Johns Hopkins Hospital Children's Center in Baltimore for treatment of injuries.

Another accident, on Aug. 9, occurred under identical circumstances.

A Volkswagen Golf traveling north on Route 27 was struck by a Toyota making a left turn onto the highway from Watersville Road. The driver of the Toyota could not see the Volkswagen because of another vehicle making a right turn on Watersville Road.

The occupants of the Volkswagen were treated at Frederick Memorial Hospital and released.

"Too many accidents happen up here," said Carol Knill, who lives on Watersville Road and supports the installation of a traffic light. "I try to avoid it [the intersection] when I can."

Stacey Pollatos, of Robinwood Drive off of Watersville Road, also said a light would improve safety at the intersection.

During rush hours, Ms. Pollatos said, traffic backs up on Watersville Road.

L "Some people get daring and go [out on Route 27]," she said.

Mr. Healy said the most recent accidents at the intersection "may be the type of thing that can push it into a realm where it merits a traffic signal."

Earlier this month, SHA engineers came to Mount Airy to study the intersection and review traffic flow as part of an annual review of the site.

Mr. Healy said the engineers will issue a report on the intersection in about a month.

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