Radford Road Safety Study Being Discussed

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Consideration is being given to doing a comprehensive safety study on Athens County Road 19 (Radford), a road where three people were killed last year in traffic accidents.

As a first step, radar signs will be installed on the road to collect data on the number of cars using the road and the speeds they are traveling, according to County Engineer Jeff Maiden.

The Messenger reported last month that the county commissioners had decided to spend up to $5,000 to purchase a speed monitoring sign, which would also display for drivers on Radford how fast they are going. However, Maiden later informed the commissioners that he had been in discussions with the Ohio Department of Transportation about such radar signs, and had gotten permission to use grant funds to buy two of them.

Last week, the commissioners agreed to give Maiden’s department the $5,000 to help with the local match on the grant. The engineer’s department has been awarded a $49,600 grant to upgrade county road signs and stop signs, and some of that will be used for the radar signs. The match amount on the grant is $13,768.

“This is the first time that any applicant has used this grant to purchase radar signs in the state of Ohio, so it took some time to get approval to do that,” Maiden wrote in an email to the commissioners

In that email, Maiden also said a meeting was held Dec. 23 with ODOT District 10 engineers to review the process for implementing a safety project on Radford Road. According to the email, among the topics discussed were:

• A speed zone study on different sections of Radford Road.

• Performing a comprehensive safety study for the entire road.

• The radar signs.

Maiden said the nature of Radford Road has changed over the years, and now there are sections that are like a city street with multiple driveways entering the roadway. Yet, Radford is also an arterial road connecting two state highways — Route 50 and Route 56.

Maiden said his department will be taking a look at its workload to see if a safety study could be performed in-house, or if a consultant should be hired. He said if a consultant is needed, it might be possible to get it paid for through ODOT.

According to Maiden, it’s too soon to say what a safety study would encompass, but it could look at such things as bern width, alignments and speed.

The speed limit for all of Radford Road is currently 45 miles per hour.

The three fatal accidents that occurred in 2014 included one at the intersection with Route 50, one at the other end of Radford Road near Route 56 and a vehicle-pedestrian accident.

In addition to the $49,600 grant received for upgrading signs, the engineer’s department also has been awarded a $50,000 grant to install curve warning signs at dangerous curves on county roads that have had at least two documented crashes in the past three years.