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Deadly intersection to get makeover

February 03, 2007|by DON AINES

GREENCASTLE, PA. - An Antrim Township intersection that has been the scene of several fatal crashes in the past decade will get a left turn lane this spring, an interim step a year ahead of other improvements scheduled by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, according to state Sen. Terry Punt.

At least seven people died in crashes at the intersection of Pa. 16 and Hill Road since 1998, according to published reports. The most recent was in October, when the car of a Fort Littleton, Pa., couple, Harvey and Madeline Seville, struck the rear of a tractor-trailer that Pennsylvania State Police said was making a left turn from the westbound lane of Pa. 16.

"I'm just elated that someone else's life might be saved," said Judith Ansell of Fort Littleton, Madeline Seville's cousin. Ansell contacted Punt, R-Franklin, and other officials about the intersection after the crash.

"It's things like this that get you involved," Ansell said.

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"This is a dangerous intersection that is worthy of prompt corrective measures," Punt stated in a Friday press release. "I am pleased at the department's expeditious response."

Punt announced PennDOT will stripe the road for a turn lane in April or May. The intersection, where the speed limit is 55 mph, already was scheduled for work in the 2008 Betterment Program, according to the release.

"I think there's a groundswell in the area that something needs to be done before" 2008, PennDOT spokesman Greg Penny said. PennDOT will pave the intersection to beef up the shoulder of the westbound lane to accommodate traffic and make room for the turn lane, he said.

The 2008 improvements require moving utilities and storm-water drainage, and are part of a $2.7 million project along a four-mile stretch of Pa. 16 from Interstate 81 west to Willowdale Road, Penny said.

"We're very pleased the senator has been able to expedite additional improvements at the intersection," Antrim Township Administrator Ben Thomas Jr. said. "Over the last several years, PennDOT has placed additional signs, large signs, alerting motorists to the intersection."

PennDOT records showed 13 reportable crashes at the intersection from 2001 to 2005 - crashes that resulted in people being injured or killed, or rendered vehicles inoperable.

Besides the Sevilles, there have been three other fatal accidents at or near the intersection since 1998:

· Mark Donald Hykes, 34, of Montgomery Township, Pa., and his 4-year-old son, Daniel, were killed when their vehicle was struck from behind as Hykes was attempting to make a left turn. The impact pushed their car into the path of an eastbound vehicle, according to Pennsylvania State Police.

· In April 1999, James R. Reesor of Mercersburg, Pa., was killed when he lost control of his vehicle and crashed in the Hillcrest Drive-in parking lot, police said.

· Two Montgomery Township residents, Joshua L. Everetts, 18, and George K. Leavy, 17, were killed in July 2003. Police said Everetts tried to turn left onto Hill Road and the car was struck by a tractor-trailer, police said.

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