ODOT hopes new alert system will cut down on crashes at dangerous intersection

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GEAUGA COUNTY, Ohio (WJW) – The intersection of U.S. Route 322 and Sperry Road in Chesterland is one of the most dangerous in Geauga County, and ODOT is hoping that a new warning system will help reduce an alarming number of traffic crashes that have been reported over the years.

The problem starts with two-way stop signs on Sperry Road. When cars fail to stop or misjudge how fast the traffic on 322 is approaching, the result is often a high-speed collision.

“The accidents that we typically get there are severe, so a lot of them involve injury. It’s something that’s plagued the township, that intersection specifically, for quite a few years now,” Chester Township Police Chief Mark Purchase told FOX 8.

ODOT says since 2018, a total of 26 accidents have been reported at the intersection.

In response, the state decided to install what’s known as an “intersection conflict warning system” at 322 and Sperry, which warns drivers about approaching traffic.

In addition, the stop signs on Sperry have flashing red lights, 24 hours a day.

“When cars on Sperry Road approach the stop sign, it would trigger a yellow light system that would warn them that there’s traffic coming in their direction,” said ODOT spokesman Isaac Hunt.

When ODOT first installed the system in July, they discovered it was causing confusion, so engineers had to do some fine tuning.

“A lot of times they would think it was one of those overhead yellow lights systems and thought maybe they only needed to slow down, when in actuality they needed to stop,” said Isaac Hunt. “So now, those yellow beacons will only flash if you’re at the stop sign and there’s also traffic coming on 322.”

Some Chesterland residents and Chester Township police have recommended that a traffic light be installed at the intersection.

However, ODOT says after studying the problem, engineers concluded a traffic light was not warranted and the new warning system was the best solution.

“I think anything the state does to help us to reduce accidents is beneficial and we’re going in the right direction,” said Chief Purchase. “So if we reduce the number of accidents, then this thing has become effective.”

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