Amidst some concern by residents, the Butler County Commissioners met on Tuesday morning to further discuss the road improvements to Four Mile Creek Road. Previously during a discussion with the commissioners, Public Works Director Darry Lutz presented the possibility of placing a raised median on a portion of the roadway instead of a two-way left turn lane.
“We did discuss some homeowner conerns with the raised median in a previous meeting,” began Lutz. “We’re trying to figure out where we go from here. Back in 2008 and 2009 we began working on our corridor stud – everything from 110th to 150th, one mile south of Kellogg and nine miles south to SW 190th. The last intersection resides on the south side of the Rose Hill High School. That study was finalized and adopted in 2009. As part of the study, we determined the improvements that needed to be done with the road. We determined it should be a divided road using a raised median with turn lane sections. Upon proposing the raised median, we began to receive communications from one of the property owners letting us know she was upset about the median.”
“I’m getting a whole lot more calls than just one,” commented Commissioner Dan Woydziak.
“We held a meeting and met with the people concerned,” said Lutz. “Part of the objection is possibly not having a full understanding why this would be done. The homeowners did not understand or see a need for the raised median. There is one particular person that is generating the talk and getting a lot of neighbors engaged. The neighbors now understand the safety aspect. They may not be happy about it, but they see why it needs done. We will still try to accommodate access to their driveways. We’re not affecting businesses or commercial or industrial retail businesses. There are four maybe five driveways for this section of the project. at this juncture. What we decide here today is really going to decide how we handle the rest of the corridor.”
“In my mind, when it was proposed, I thought it was going to be like Kellogg, which is a four lane road with a turn lane in the middle of it,” said Woydziak.
Lutz went on to explain the main opposition for the project was the inconvenient access to the resident’s driveways. The alternative option would be to put in an open two-way left turn lane in the center of the road to allow easy access to the driveways. The main reason the raised median was proposed was to help prevent an increase in the number of accidents experienced typically when a vehicle attempts to cross three lanes of highway. The overall project was meant to help not only now but also 20 to 30 years in the future.
Page 2 of 3 - “We’re trying to accommodate movement of through traffic in the safest way possible,” began Lutz. “You do this by eliminating as many potential hazards as possible. Through the process, however, you’re going to impact those living along this roadway. Fortunately most of the driveways on Butler Road are residential driveways and not entrances to commercial businesses.”
Not all commissioners agreed with the immediate need for the raised median.
“I’m not supportive of a raised median,” said Woydziak.
“To me, these turn arounds can cause problems,” explained Commissioner Peggy Palmer. “I’m not in favor of this. This is not going to be a smooth thing and this is coming from personal experience.”
“I’m having trouble understanding the justification,” added Commissioner Jeff Masterson.
“All I can do is present the recomendation to you,” began Lutz. “If the commission decides not to place a raised median, then I cannot disagree with it, but in the long run, statistically speaking, there will be an issue if we don’t solve the problems that we want to avoid. This would be made a lot easier if 40 years ago they had a crystal ball and they all knew how this what this road was going to be.”
“This is an area of transition,” added Commissioner Mike Wheeler. “Between being a rural road and moving to becoming a major trafficway. I don’t envy you having to make these decisions, Darryl.”
“I do think we’re doing the right thing here,” said Lutz. “If you want to go a different direction, then lets decide it today.”
Upon the request from Darryl Lutz for a decision to be made, the commissioners weighed in individually on the subject.
“I don’t think we need a raised median,” said Woydziak. “I just don’t see the need for it today. I think it’s overkill.”
“I would base my decision on what Darryl recommends, but I’m not down there on a daily basis,” added Wheeler.
“On the one hand I would agree with Mr. Woydziak,” said Commissioner Ed Myers. “I could think of places where you would need this, but I’m more on Dan’s point of view here. It is not needed right now.”
“In 30 years if we have issues, the commission can come back and readdress this issue,” said Lutz.
The motion to eliminate the raised median for the Four Mile Creek Road project and replace it with a two-way left turn lane was carried 5-0.
Page 3 of 3 - Kari Adams can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.