County engineer addresses Troy-Sidney, Peterson intersection

MIAMI COUNTY — On Thursday, Miami County Engineer Paul Huelskamp addressed the intersection of Troy-Sidney and Peterson roads, which has been the site of two serious accidents this month.

The intersection of Troy-Sidney and Peterson roads was the location of a fatal accident on Aug. 3, and on Wednesday evening, six people were injured, including two victims who were transported from the scene by CareFlight, following a crash there.

During the Miami County Commissioners’ meeting, Huelskamp said he has heard from a few members of the public following these serious accidents, and while the people he has spoken with over the past day “have been very, very great people,” he said he sometimes gets faced with a discouraging question.

“Now the question that’s posed to me, which can be frustrating at times, is how many people have to get hurt there before you do something?” Huelskamp said. “That number is zero. Zero people have to get hurt before we do something.”

He said he understood the community’s emotions following serious accidents such as these recent ones that have occurred at Troy-Sidney and Peterson roads, saying, “It’s emotional for me.”

He said, in regard to the two most recent accidents there, they were caused by a driver who “blew into the intersection.” He said there is something that is not registering with drivers who run this stop sign that this is a place where they need to stop, so he is considering some possible adjustments to the intersection.

“I’m not prepared to say what those options are,” Huelskamp said.

Earlier, Huelskamp explained the process his office goes through following accidents taking place in the county. He said an engineering technician from his office will review accident reports, sometimes visiting the sites of the accident to make sure the traffic control devices are in line with the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices and that the traffic control devices are set up the way they are supposed to be according to state law.

“(For) this particular intersection, we went out and looked at it after the first accident that we had this year. We were thinking about some different things that we could do, but the intersection itself meets the standard that we’re required to meet under the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, so there’s no defect in the road or in the way the devices are installed,” Huelskamp said.

After the first accident, they were considering what else they could do beyond the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, with Huelskamp explaining, “We do have some latitude that we can do.” While there is some leeway for him, he went on to say, “We cannot install four way stops just because there’s so many accidents. We cannot install traffic signals because there’s so many accidents. We can’t do things just because we feel like we want to do them. All of that is controlled by the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, because in the grand scheme of things, what would happen is everyone would want a four-way stop at their corner on their particular street.”

Huelskamp said if there was a four-way stop at every intersection, drivers might stop paying attention to four-way stops.

“In order to promote this consistency and, again, give some level of confidence to the driver, we follow this system,” Huelskamp said.

“In looking at this intersection, I believe that there are enhancements that we can do that are within my purview, but in all likelihood, it is not going to be a signalized intersection,” Huelskamp said. “We haven’t done a full study, but our preliminary study shows that it will not be a signalized intersection. I don’t believe that it’s going to be a sign with the flashing red lights around it because there are certain thresholds for that as well.”

If Huelskamp makes adjustments to the intersection, he said he expects to make them sometime within the next 30 days. Huelskamp said approximately 3,000 people travel through that intersection each day.