Intersection to get safety feature

INDIANAPOLIS — Columbia City’s lone representative in the Indiana Senate has spearheaded a campaign designed to make one of Whitley County’s most harrowing intersections a little safer.Freshman Sen. Jim Banks R-Columbia City reported this week that officials from the Indiana Department of Transportation plan to install “rumble strips,” or traffic control devices that produce an audible vibration for motorists, at the intersection of U.S. 30 and state Route 205.“I have lived near this intersection most of my life and many motorists ignore the stoplight,” Banks said in a press release this week.“I asked officials at Indiana’s Department of Transportation to study the possibility of using rumble strips to help alert drivers of this busy intersection.”Banks said INDOT also conducted a traffic study of the intersection which included a review of crashes at the location over the past five years.In that span, according to Banks, 46 collisions were reported resulting in one fatality and 14 serious injuries.“In all, 24 of the reported crashes were rear-end collisions and 21 of those occurred on U.S. 30,” Banks reported.“Our goals are to improve visibility, recognition and compliance at this intersection in order to help prevent injuries and save lives,” he said.According to INDOT reports, a majority of crashes at the intersection involved a motorist ignoring a red light and subsequently hitting a driver trying to make a turn.Reports revealed many drivers indicated they were “trying to beat the light.” Others said “they didn’t know whether to stop or run it.”Banks said efforts to further protect motorists will continue as INDOT officials plan to study the timing of the lights at the intersection to determine whether changes might decrease the likelihood of crashes.He said once the Parkview Whitley Hospital is open, the state also plans to review the intersection again as traffic flow is expected to increase.Prior to the INDOT study’s timeline, a large number of crashes, including fatalities, have occurred at that intersection.