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Improvements made on Eastern Boulevard

June 15, 2009|By DAN DEARTH

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- Speed limit signs were changed and lane lines widened Monday on a section of Eastern Boulevard near the YMCA and about 800 feet from where a fatal accident occurred on Friday.

Washington County Public Works Director Joseph Kroboth III said the work was being done to convince motorists to drive at slower speeds.

On Monday morning, workers were spreading paint to widen the existing lane lines from 5 inches to 10 inches in an effort to slow traffic, Kroboth said. Studies have shown that motorists instinctively slow down because wider lane lines create the illusion of a narrower roadway, he said.

Kroboth said the speed limit signs were changed, lowering the limit from 40 mph to 30 mph.

The county initiated a traffic study about 2 1/2 months ago when a resident who lives across from the YMCA asked that a traffic light be installed at Eastern Boulevard and Chartridge Drive to slow traffic, Kroboth said.

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Washington County Sheriff's Department records show that there was one traffic accident a year at the intersection in 2006, 2007 and 2008.

Kroboth said the traffic study determined that a traffic light wasn't warranted, but other options could be used to help deter speeding.

In addition to reducing the speed limit and widening the lane lines, the study showed that the following safety measures could be taken:

o Install a concrete median on Chartridge Drive to shield vehicles as they wait to turn.

o Trim tree branches to improve visibility.

o Prohibit left turns from Chartridge Drive on weekdays from 7 to 9 a.m. and 3 to 6 p.m.

Kroboth said the total cost of the project, which should be done by the end of this month, is estimated at $4,000 to $6,000.

Workers were expected to finish painting the lane lines Tuesday, he said.

Philip Martin Post II, 28, of 532 Lynnehaven Drive, Apt. 34, in Hagerstown, was killed Friday when the 2002 Toyota MR2 convertible he was driving collided with a pickup truck on Eastern Boulevard near Old Forge Road.

Deputies said a preliminary investigation determined speed and road conditions contributed to the accident.

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