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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Stop signs to go up Wednesday at 240 and Zinc Mill

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

State Road 240 and Zinc Mill Road/Percy Julian Drive
GREENCASTLE -- The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) announced Monday the intersection of State Road 240 and Zinc Mill Road/Percy Julian Drive in Greencastle will become a four-way stop condition.

Crews with INDOT were set to begin the installation process around 8:30 a.m. today.

"During our meeting with Greencastle officials, it was agreed a 4-way stop could potentially relieve public concerns at this intersection," said INDOT Crawfordsville District Deputy Commissioner Alan Plunkett.

As of Tuesday morning, a flashing message board was already up from each direction on 240, warning motorists of the four-way stop set to begin today. The boards will remain up for several days after installation.

INDOT's Debbie Calder said in addition to the temporary boards, crews are spending today installing "Be Prepared to Stop" signs, rumble strips, stop ahead signs and dual oversized stop signs.

During the meeting, which included officials from the city, INDOT, Greencastle Schools and Ivy Tech, INDOT reiterated its stance that the intersection does not meet criteria for a stop light.

"INDOT was asked to look into installing a traffic signal at this location," Calder said. "INDOT Traffic Department conducted a signal study and determined the signal criteria was not met per state law. City officials along with both Ivy Tech and Greencastle school officials requested something further be done at this intersection. INDOT decided the next best step would be to install a four-way stop condition."

While local officials did not get exactly what they sought, they are happy to see something being done.

"The good news is that they recognized the fact that it's not a safe intersection," Greencastle Mayor Sue Murray said. "Basically, what they said to us is that they follow the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, and that is how they get out of being subjective or being accused of being subjective as they interpret things. And most certainly, the city uses that as well."

With Greencastle Middle School and Ivy Tech occupying opposite corners of the intersections, leaders from each institution were happy to see something happening.

"For the school's sake, it comes closer to accomplishing what we have been pushing for, which is to improve the safety of our students," GMS Principal Shawn Gobert said. "Whether there's nothing there at all, like we have now, or a stop light or something in between like a stop sign, students are going to cross there as much as we might discourage it."

The Ivy Tech family knows all too well the danger of this intersection, as a student was seriously injured in a June collision with a semi at the intersection.

"Ivy Tech Community College is relieved that INDOT has agreed to address our safety issue. Our first priority as a community is to ensure the safety of our citizens," Ivy Tech Greencastle Executive Director Sharon Bone said. "As we all know, this intersection at Veteran's Highway and Zinc Mill is extremely dangerous. A four-way stop will help address those issues and help ensure the safety of our Ivy Tech students as well as students at Greencastle schools and the citizens of Greencastle."

The one issue many leaders and residents have with this move, though, is the timing. INDOT left just a two-day turnaround between announcing the change to putting it into effect.

In the short term, this leaves even more safety concerns, particularly among local police. Upon hearing of the move, Greencastle Police Department Chief Tom Sutherlin urged GPD officers to increase patrols in the area and use caution as motorists get used to the change.

"As officers become available, we're going to have them patrolling that area as much as we can," Sutherlin said.

He was happy to hear of the abundance of signage, and hopes his department's patrols will aid in making the public aware of the change.

"With us patrolling it and stopping the vehicles who are running stop signs for several days, then hopefully the word gets out," Sutherlin said.

While INDOT has not commented on the timing, Murray speculated the quick change had to do with the approach of the school year.

"The schools thought it was best to have it done at the beginning of the school year, and that's probably part of what pushed it this way," Murray said. "(Greencastle Superintendent) Dr. (Bob) Green and Shawn Gobert, who were at the meeting, thought that if that change was indeed going to be made, that it should be something that people get used to as the school year commences, not something that's a major change."

The other major concern, and one whose consequences will not lessen over time, is the traffic backups a four-way stop could cause, particularly at the beginning and end of school and of shifts at Walmart Distribution and Heartland Automotive.

"I have had a chance to talk to the folks at Walmart Distribution and Heartland, and they're understanding of it. They feel the same way we all did because there are going to be times that it just impedes the flow of traffic and there's nobody at the crossroads," Murray said.

Heartland officials are not commenting to the media until after they've seen some of the effects once the signs are in place. A call to Walmart Distribution was not returned on Wednesday.

The real test of the traffic situation will begin today, with the signs actually installed.

Gobert put everyone's concerns in the best perspective when it comes to safety or convenience.

"I know it's going to be an inconvenience for some people, but an inconvenience compared to some kind of tragedy, those two things don't compare," he said.

Murray concurred.

"We all know it's a dangerous intersection. It's been proven too many times," she said. "We have to err by being overly cautious, I think."

INDOT reminded motorists to follow the posted work zone speed limit, use caution and consider worker safety when traveling through a construction zone.

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WooHoo! It's about time!

-- Posted by johndeeregreen on Mon, Aug 2, 2010, at 4:27 PM

This is going to cause more problems, not fix them.

-- Posted by girlmd on Mon, Aug 2, 2010, at 4:40 PM

every accident that happened at that intersection was the result of driver error and not paying attention. Zinc Mill road was already a stop. If a driver is not paying attention, this will not help.

-- Posted by albert on Mon, Aug 2, 2010, at 6:10 PM

stupid drivers make stupid mistakes. stop signs will not fix that.

-- Posted by A Mad Bovine on Mon, Aug 2, 2010, at 6:50 PM

How many drivers are gonna blow this intersection from now on?

Remember when Brazil used to be the worst town to drive through?

-- Posted by Xgamer on Mon, Aug 2, 2010, at 6:56 PM

Hello! idiots at indot. we want a light...we don't care about your study. You will get someone killed or seriously injured at this intersection with a 4-way stop or get a child ran over. Dumb!!! we want a light. Stop leaning on your shovel and give us a light. Did I mention we wanta light? Stupid jerks!

-- Posted by hardtobelieve on Mon, Aug 2, 2010, at 8:17 PM

Putting my vote in now for a roundabout.

-- Posted by Mercidos on Mon, Aug 2, 2010, at 8:43 PM

I would vote for a roundabout. Does that meet the criteria? A stop sign is only going to make it worse, espcially when when the schools let out. It will be just like the stop sign in front of the highschool.

-- Posted by indy500 on Tue, Aug 3, 2010, at 1:16 AM

The traffic will be a real mess now.

In my opinion a 4 way stop at that intersection is the dumbest thing that they could do.

At times it probably affect traffic all the way back to US 231.

-- Posted by Old Man on Tue, Aug 3, 2010, at 1:50 AM

A round about won't work either. All a round about would do is make a 100 cars drive around in a circle. Kudo's to the city officials for at least least taking the Stop sign offer (as that is all INDOT is willing to do) so that all the liability falls on the state and INDOT when someone gets killed in the next 6 months or so because they don't realize there is a stop sign for east and west traffic now....MARK MY WORDS.....THIS IS A BAD IDEA!!!!!

-- Posted by derrr1 on Tue, Aug 3, 2010, at 5:10 AM

This will have traffic and absolute mess. Spend the money for a stop light.

-- Posted by nascar_Couple on Tue, Aug 3, 2010, at 7:04 AM

Good points all around but I think there is another view we need to look at and that is "that everyone in on this stupid decision who is a elected official needs to be voted out ASAP" Why can't some city money put in a stoplight? Take a little pathways money, after all isn't the pathway to make safe walkways?

-- Posted by Trying hard on Tue, Aug 3, 2010, at 7:33 AM

It will be a 6 way, not a 4 way stop since there are turn lanes there!

-- Posted by opiniononly on Tue, Aug 3, 2010, at 8:14 AM

Worst IDEA ever!

where is Nancy Michael... we need her back as mayor b/c this one is stupid!

this is going to be the biggest disaster in the history of adding a stop sign

-- Posted by BlackBarbie22 on Tue, Aug 3, 2010, at 8:39 AM

Quick, someone tell me the last fatality on 240/veterans highway. All of the motor vehicle crashes on that stretch have been entirely attributable to drive impatience. A four way stop will be just as effective as a traffic light.As far as the liability issue someone raised, name the last time this city was sued over a street/traffic condition.

-- Posted by exhoosier2 on Tue, Aug 3, 2010, at 8:51 AM

Get ready for the Avenues to be busy! This is crazy. Yes I can see the students not knowing when to cross and drivers not knowing when to turn? I will take the short cut-which will be the Avenues-since the roads are so horrible on Indiapolis road, and the cluster they put at Kroger's.

-- Posted by didisaythat? on Tue, Aug 3, 2010, at 8:52 AM


I understand your frustration but I think you're misplacing it with city officials. This is a STATE highway intersection and as such the city cannot put up a stoplight without approval from INDOT.

-- Posted by hometownboy on Tue, Aug 3, 2010, at 9:17 AM

The only way that intersection can be made a 4-way stop is to eliminate the turn lanes on Veteran's highway or it will be more dangerous. It won't be long before it will take 30 minutes or more to go through town and Greencastle will be just like Avon & Plainfield.

-- Posted by compoundguard on Tue, Aug 3, 2010, at 11:02 AM

Good lord, people! Calling people who disagree with you idiots, jerks, etc. puts you in second grade with Rush and Garrison. Using the Avenues to avoid one stop will add at least one more to your journey; good luck with that.

-- Posted by VolunteerFF on Tue, Aug 3, 2010, at 12:10 PM

There are stop signs on both of these roads to the sides. So what if the traffic on veterans doesn't stop. So to you people who are confused, if you come up to the stop signs on either side of veterans then stop and wait until clear. The problem is poor judgement and people in too much of a hurry. Nothing else is needed here except for people to pay attention.

-- Posted by iumcrn on Tue, Aug 3, 2010, at 1:36 PM

Well, apparently someone has to lose their life in order for INDOT to make the right decision, which is a stoplight (no, I don't want one either but something needs to happen). Morons at the state level making inappropriate decisions to safe money will inevitably get someone killed... yes, people should pay more attention, I agree. But what about pedestrians that have no control? Or semis that will no doubt blow right through that stop sign? Did INDOT even grace us with their presence and observe the traffic patterns in that intersection? Perhaps they would like to come on down and observe/control traffic on that first day of school, when factories are letting out, school busses are leaving and students/parents are trying to get home via car and on foot. Well, this should be interesting. Mark my words, now people will simply avoid the Veterans' Highway and will find alternate routes to get away from the chaos, hence creating more traffic on the back roads (like they need an excuse to go faster out that way, like Airport road) and in town. Stay out of Gtown between the hours of 2:30pm and 4:00pm!

-- Posted by MsBehaving on Tue, Aug 3, 2010, at 2:00 PM

Go pointer!! the city council ,mayor and most of all your state rep. are to blame for this so-called comprimise:(

-- Posted by Blue6 on Tue, Aug 3, 2010, at 4:26 PM

Please tell me that they are going to close the turn lanes...you can't have a separate turn lane when you have a 4 way stop...this is going to be a headache. Also way to go letting everyone know two days before it is going to happen. You could have given a little more warning.

-- Posted by girlmd on Tue, Aug 3, 2010, at 4:52 PM

Unbelievable! Is this the only answer to traffic problems in this town, the almighty 4-way stop? Some compromise, the only option that nobody likes; anything else would be better! Can't wait for that Friday 3pm traffic...

-- Posted by elbarto on Tue, Aug 3, 2010, at 7:30 PM

Apparently our city officials have there hands tied and INDOT is unwilling or unable, for what ever reason, to install the much needed stop light at this location. I believe our only recourse is a direct appeal to our governors' office. Please everyone, let your voice be heard at the state house.

-- Posted by Blindside on Tue, Aug 3, 2010, at 9:14 PM


-- Posted by Mercidos on Tue, Aug 3, 2010, at 9:19 PM

Nothing will cure distracted or dangerouis drivers or speeding,but this is a start,I hope they post a policeman at the intersection because it's gonna be hairy there for a couple weeks,I think i'll just avoid this intersection for awhile.

-- Posted by obeone on Tue, Aug 3, 2010, at 9:44 PM

So with all this being said and done are they gonna put these worthless stop signs over there where heartland and Wal-Mart Distro is because there are wrecks there too

-- Posted by wilsonheidi26 on Wed, Aug 4, 2010, at 12:13 AM

Who wants to wager when the first rear end collision will happen. I give it 5 days before it happens.

-- Posted by mchunter on Wed, Aug 4, 2010, at 12:27 AM

There will be a wreck there before the day is over on day 1 guaranteed.

-- Posted by indy500 on Wed, Aug 4, 2010, at 1:24 AM

I love reading everyone's comments because some of them are hilarious and others are just plain stupid.

If the Banner ever stops allowing these comments I will stop reading the Banner because it is the BEST part of the paper.

-- Posted by Old Man on Wed, Aug 4, 2010, at 2:18 AM

This "answer" to the perceived problem is a joke. All they needed to do was enforce the speed limit there (which is 25 mph when school is starting and ending). Now we have stop signs on a limited access highway. Way to go, Mayor!

-- Posted by not gullible on Wed, Aug 4, 2010, at 5:10 PM

Perhaps the Schools, Plants & Distribution facilities etc. (those with large employment numbers) could stagger shift times. Seems like this was done in the '60s with IBM & Mallory cooperating to lessen congestion about the time GHS moved to the eastside.

-- Posted by do-read on Wed, Aug 4, 2010, at 6:32 PM

Be sure your "TURN SIGNALS" are operating . . . and your cell phone is not & out of reach!!

-- Posted by do-read on Wed, Aug 4, 2010, at 6:35 PM

Who get the right away when a four way stop is covering six lanes. What happens in the turn lanes? I am confused and was scared at the intersection today when I had to decide who went first.

-- Posted by juni on Wed, Aug 4, 2010, at 6:47 PM

Ignorant attempt to fix something that wasn't broken.

-- Posted by Mercidos on Thu, Aug 5, 2010, at 4:13 AM

Where did my comment go???

-- Posted by missp on Fri, Aug 6, 2010, at 3:35 PM

Okay, since my original post seems to have disappeared, here are my thoughts again.

We have succeeded in making an intersection that might have been a little dangerous at certain times of the day into a much MORE dangerous intersection! Just wondering when the first road rage incident will happen.....

Would have made much more sense just to have beefed up police surveillance and/or cops directing traffic at certain times of the day!

-- Posted by missp on Fri, Aug 6, 2010, at 3:52 PM

It is not a question of "not paying attention." If you pass through this intersection every day, as I do, you know that at certain times of the day, it is extremely difficult to cross Veterans Mermorial Highway. This is made more difficult by folks speeding on the highway. How many of you folks who criticize the young lady have ever waited five minutes to cross VMH and finally decide to risk a little and bolt across?

The fact that there are now four schools in the area (don't forget New Pathways just up the street) demands that we slow down this traffic and make it easier for all the students to move through the intersection. A stop light is ideal but it seems our town can't afford it at the moment. Better safe than sorry.

-- Posted by mgseamanjr on Thu, Aug 12, 2010, at 8:43 PM

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