By Dan King
The intersection of County Routes 18 and 21 in Whitehall has always been a difficult intersection for many to maneuver, between the grassy island in the middle and the lack of visibility.
Currently, a two-way stop sign slows down the traffic travelling along route 21; however the traffic coming down route 18 does not have any stop signs. With the two roads meeting in the middle of a hill, the drivers’ line of sight can also be an issue, especially for vehicles stopped on 21, waiting for clearance along 18.
Rumors of increased motor vehicle accidents at the intersection have swirled, since the Route 4 detour was implemented, sending truck traffic toward this intersection. Brian Brooks, deputy chief of the Whitehall Volunteer Fire Company, however, dispelled those rumors as hearsay.
“We have responded with our First Response EMS unit there for one motor vehicle accident, several weeks ago,” Brooks stated.
Even with Brooks explaining that there has not been an increase in motor vehicle accidents, pedestrian safety on these roads is still an area of high concern for town officials.
Town officials recently voiced their concern about residents’ safety on many county roads within Whitehall and have even advocated, to the county and state, speed limit reductions on said roads. Both County Routes 18 and 21 were included in the town’s application to the county to lower the speed limits, last month.
“I think we have all seen people simply going too fast over the hills on some of these county roads,” Town Councilman John Rozell said at a recent board meeting.
The town has to wait to hear back from the county and state on the proposal, which was drafted by Town Attorney Erika Sellar-Ryan.
Officials said that population has increased along these roads and with the increased population has come an increase in traffic. The increases in population and traffic are why board members have pushed for lowered speed limits on these roads.
By Dan King