Safety fixes ready for Virginia cemetery intersection – where the breakdowns continue | local news

WASHINGTON – Work will begin soon on a series of highway safety improvements at the four-way junction closest to West New York National Cemetery in Pembroke — but work has not begun soon enough to prevent two more accidents at the crash-prone crossing in the past three months.

This month, the Department of Transportation will install larger stop signs on Indian Falls Road at the Intersection of Route 77, including a sign that says, “Traffic does not stop.” Also this summer, the state will put up larger “intersection” signs on Route 77, a Department of Transportation spokesperson said last week.

Then, by early fall, the Department of Transportation will eliminate Route 77 traffic areas at the intersection of Indian Falls Road, install rumble strips on Route 77 and add “STOP” sidewalk signs on Indian Falls Road.

Meanwhile, the US Department of Veterans Affairs will seek bids in September for work scheduled for completion by December on flashing warning signs installed on the two roads, a VA spokesperson confirmed.

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Neither agency has specified the cost of these changes.

The changes stem from a traffic study released by the two agencies in June, nine months after two Lockport veterans — Arnold Herdendorf and Christopher Roel — were killed in a crash at an intersection. Both the director of the veteran cemetery and the planner leading the development of the facility raised concerns about visibility issues at the intersection and lobbied for safety improvements more than a year before this fatal collapse, only to be ignored and reprimanded by the VA for pushing for safety.

Local veterans Patrick Walsh said he was happy to see safety improvements at the intersection, adding that the state and VA should have made changes much sooner.

“One of the things I’m most upset about is that they really knew these years, they didn’t take any action and now we’ve lost lives and had other accidents,” he said.

These other incidents occurred on May 24 and July 15. Both incidents occurred on the other side of the quad intersection where two Lockport veterans were killed: on Gabbey Road, which becomes Indian Falls Road on the eastern side of this intersection. .

In the first two incidents, a man driving a pickup truck stopped at a stop sign on Gabe Road and then walked through the intersection only to hit a northbound vehicle on Route 77. According to a report from the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, the man told officers that he did not see the vehicle that hit him, which Her driver sustained minor injuries to both arms in the accident.

Then on July 15, according to a mayor’s report, an almost identical accident occurred. None of the warriors involved in the accident was hurt, but a woman who was in the other car in the collision was sent to hospital with minor injuries.

With accidents at the intersection regularly occurring over the years, Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, a Democrat from New York, and some others lobbied for a roundabout to be created at the intersection. But this proposal sparked some opposition from the community.

“The Department of Veterans Affairs received 90 responses to its traffic analysis and safety study, which did not show overwhelming public support for Vertigo,” said Joseph Morrissey, a spokesman for the state’s Department of Transportation. “While there are no current plans to build a roundabout at this intersection, NYSDOT will continue to monitor the safety of the intersection and work with the VA and local stakeholders as needed to implement traffic improvements at the intersection.”

Welch said he and other veterans will continue to monitor what happens at the intersection, too. He said he wasn’t sure that a roundabout was the correct solution to the intersection, but he offered another possible solution: a traffic light that turns solid red only at times of heavy traffic.

As for the changes being implemented, Welch said, “I’m glad something happened. Something is better than nothing. But you know, we’ll keep watching and hopefully it solves the problem.”

Representative Chris Jacobs, an Orchard Park Republican who held a public hearing on the controversial intersection in May, said he was pleased with the changes the state and the Department of Veterans Affairs are making.

“Additional signage, signs, louder tapes, and flashing lights were safety improvements that had broad support in the community,” Jacobs said. “I am pleased that the VA and NYSDOT are moving quickly to implement additional safety measures.”

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