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Petition brings change to deadly Pa. crossroad

April 01, 1999|By DON AINES

NEW FRANKLIN, Pa. - In the days before he was killed there, Randy L. Kaiser Sr. signed a petition asking the state to make safety improvements at the intersection of Wayne Road and Grindstone Hill Road.

Kaiser, 38, was one of three people killed during the past four years in accidents at the Guilford Township intersection.

Wednesday in the parking lot of Solomon's Lutheran Church, U.S. Rep. Bud Shuster, R-Pa., and State Rep. Jeff Coy announced that "wig wag" warning lights soon will be installed at the crossroad.

Richard C. Amt, 4600 Wayne Road, said Kaiser was among more than 500 people to sign petitions asking for safety improvements to Wayne Road, also known as Pa. 316.

"Most of these accidents are because of limited sight distance," Amt said. The heavily traveled road was laid out in the days of "the horse and buggy," he said.

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Wayne Road dips down to Grindstone Hill Road from both the north and south. Motorists cresting the hills on either side have little time to brake and drivers coming from Grindstone Hill Road can't see cars coming until it is sometimes too late.

Shuster said he received a petition in February "outlining the seriousness of the problem." The result is that $20,000 will be spent for flashing yellow lights on Pa. 316 and flashing red lights on Grindstone Hill Road.

Flashing lights and oversized signs will be placed in advance of the intersection, warning motorists that the speed limit drops from 45 mph to 30 mph, Shuster said.

Shuster said 80 percent of the money will come from the federal government and 20 percent from the state.

Pennsylvania Department of Transportation District 8 Engineer Barry Hoffman said the lights will be installed within 60 days. Hoffman said future improvements could include lowering the roadway on either side of the intersection and raising the grade where the roads meet.

Kaiser, 38, of New Franklin, was killed on Feb. 6 as he was driving north on Pa. 316. According to Pennsylvania State Police, two other cars were traveling south when one tried to pass another in a no passing zone.

Kaiser, who lived south of the intersection, swerved to avoid a head-on collision, but ran off the road and struck a tree. Four children in the vehicle with him were injured, police said.

Police have yet to find the driver of the dark-colored sports car they believe caused the accident.

Ina R. Shreiner of New Franklin helped lead the effort to improve safety at the intersection. On May 27, 1998, her mother, Goldie Reichard, 81, of Shady Grove, Pa., was killed in a two-vehicle accident at the crossroad.

Last year Shreiner wrote a letter to Coy that he said got the ball rolling on the project.

"The people from the church joined the project because they know it's a very dangerous intersection," Coy said.

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