September 3, 2014

Elyria
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Elyria hopes roughing up intersections smooths out crash danger

ELYRIA — Two intersections on the city’s main thoroughfare will be sanded down next week in a move city officials hope will reduce the number of accidents and near-misses on the road.

State Route 57 is one of the busiest stretches of road in Elyria and soon a diamond pattern will be cut across the intersections at Taylor and Cleveland streets. Both were the locations of several dozen traffic accidents in 2011, according to police reports.

Diamond cutting gives a road a rough finish, making it harder to slide through an intersection when road conditions are slick.

City Engineer Tim Ujvari said once a dangerous intersection is identified it is often given a diamond cut to help curb the number of accidents. It is not a complete cure-all at the intersection, but it helps.

“This works best for high-accident areas because it’s sort of like driving on fine sand,” he said. “It just a little more resistance on the road, and you are not going to slide right through.”

Mayor Holly Brinda said the number of accidents on the road was brought to her attention earlier this year by Police Chief Duane Whitely, who gave a presentation to City Council in April after using a new geographic information systems program to analyze crash data in the city. At that time, it was determined that state Route 57 contributed to eight of the top 10 accident spots in Elyria in 2011 and seven in 2010.

The Cleveland Street intersection had 64 traffic accidents in 2011, while there were 39 accidents at Taylor Street and Route 57.

Ujvari said the budget for the project is roughly $15,000, and the work will take place over the course of two or three days. Traffic will be maintained during the work, but drivers should expect some delays.

In addition, the work will last the life of the pavement and will not contribute to any more wear and tear on the road. Diamond cutting does not accelerate the development of potholes on the road, Ujvari said.

“But if I have to choose between a pothole and a life lost, I’ll take the pothole,” Brinda said. “This is about making the road safer.”

These are currently the only intersections in the city to receive the micro-grinding treatment, but next year it could be used at other problem areas.

The intersections of Route 57 and North Abbe Road, West River Road and East Broad Street are also high-accident areas, police said.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or lroberson@chroniclet.com.