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Potential for a serious accident?

Chief: safety around square a concern

PLANS FOR THE SQUARE - The state is planning a reconstruction of Highways 14 to 11 to State Line Road. The project has a total budget of about $10 million. The Department of Transportation is considering purchasing the Antique Mall or several other businesses located on the opposite side of the street to expand Highway 14. Purchasing either the Antique Mall or several other businesses would allow the state to widen the turn, which has been a trouble spot for large trucks. Currently, two options are to either purchase the Antique Mall or to purchase The Buzz Hair Design, Sweeny's Pub, King Dragon, Top Dog Grooming and to remove a canopy from the BP Gas Station. The latter plan also would affect Seimer's Cruise Inn. Crispell-Snyder engineer Sue Barker said the DOT will spend the next six to nine months considering costs and environmental impacts of purchasing the lots.
October 27, 2010 | 11:53 AM
Walworth — In the past 22 months, there have only been seven accidents reported by police around the village's square.

Of those accidents, only two involved semis. In both, a street light was knocked over.

Although there haven't been many serious accidents around the square, it doesn't mean there aren't safety concerns in the village's downtown.

Emergency Services Director and Police Chief Chris Severt said he sees the potential for a serious accident around the square.

"The semi trucks heading south on Highway 14 come literally a few feet from the kids waiting to cross the street," Severt said.

Crossing guards on the square also express concerns about the safety around the square.

After the last school bell rings, many kids stand near the intersection adjacent to the Antique Mall waiting to cross the street. At this intersection, the curb is stained with black tire marks from when semi trucks have run over the curve.

In fear that a child will be hit by a semi, crossing guards have spray painted the sidewalks around the square to mark where students should stand.

From a safety standpoint

"We can't improve the traffic flow with the way we have it now," Severt said. "The softer we can make that turn (near the Antique Mall), the better we are."

The DOT plan calls for removing the angle parking along the square, which Severt said would improve pedestrian safety.

From a safety standpoint Severt said he would prefer the DOT plan to remove the Antique Mall.

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"It makes semi flow safer and it gives an extra turn lane," Severt said. "It cleans up the whole thing for pedestrian traffic. In my opinion it is the least disruptive option."

However, he understands the concerns with tearing down the businesses in the village.

"I wish there was a better way to do it without tearing down buildings," he said.

Severt said the Antique Mall's footprint is large enough that a new business could open in that space.

"It increases the parking area for the downtown businesses and elementary school," Severt said.

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The removal of the buildings across the street will create other safety concerns, Severt said.

"We will still have issues getting to the backside of those properties," he said.

According to the DOT, during peak hours, up to 70 semis travel through the square hourly.

"It doesn't seem like the number of semis are being reduced by any means," Severt said. "If anything, our traffic volume seems to be increasing."


Tags: Geneva Lake West, Highway 14

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