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Wheatland intersection: what is being done?
Wheatland, N.Y. -- Many efforts are underway in response to a crash two weeks ago that killed three young adults from Caledonia.
Since the day of the crash neighbors in the area of Route 36 (Riga-Mumford Road) and North Road expressed their continued concerns about safety at that crossroads. 13WHAM News uncovered documents showing local leaders expressed similar concerns in 1987 and again in 2010.
On July 16th a tractor trailer headed southbound on Route 36 struck a jeep that was headed eastbound on North Road and attempted to cross Route 36. Monroe County Sheriffs Office deputies believe the Jeep did stop at the stop sign but was struck while continuing to proceed into the intersection.
The five passengers in the Jeep where between the ages of 17 and 21 and on their way back to Caledonia from a work function at a summer program in Batavia for children with special needs. Chris Peterson and Taylor Binnert were pronounced dead at the scene. Chris sister Emily died days later at the hospital. Michaela Murphy and Joanne Krutchen remain at Strong Memorial Hospital in Satisfactory Condition.
The concerns about the intersection stem from a number of crashes and fatalities where those roads meet. The concerns appear to center on visibility for cars on North Road looking to the north for southbound traffic on route 36.
The community started an online petition to urge the New York State Department of Transportation to consider safety upgrades at the intersection. State, county, and local officials are also now involved in a work group formed by New York State Senator Patrick Gallivan who represents Wheatland.
The work group assembled by State Senator Gallivan (R, Elma) includes; Assemblyman Bill Nojay (R, Pittsford), Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks, Wheatland Town Supervisor Linda Dobson, the Superintendent of Caledonia-Mumford School District, highway officials and representatives from Monroe County and the Town of Wheatland, with assistance from emergency responders who handle that area.
"We can't keep talking about the state fixing problems there we need New York State to take action," said County Executive Brooks. "Families are suffering because they lost their children, we had deaths in this accident to me that trumps any rule (or) regulation obviously there's something that doesn't work at this intersection and the state needs to fix it.
County Executive Brooks, Wheatland Town Supervisor Dobson, and Monroe County Legislature President Jeffrey Adair (R, Wheatland) all sent a letter to the state DOT asking for a complete traffic engineering study including a review of accident details, types, occurrences, and traffic volume.
Already the Mumford Fire Department provided Sen. Gallivan with data on the calls theyve responded to at that intersection in the last six years. It shows that agency spent more than 28 hours at emergency scenes over the course of 34 different calls to respond. An average of nine Mumford Fire Department members responded to each scene working out to a total of 301 responders working more than 256 man-hours on incidents at that intersection.
The Monroe County Sheriffs Office is gathering its own data and the note from the Mumford Fire Department suggests that agency has responded to more than 40 incidents in the last five years.
A spokesman for the Sheriffs Office tells 13WHAM News that the crash investigation report is not yet complete but no criminal charges are expected and at this point the spokesman had no information to suggest distracted driving, drugs, or alcohol played any role in the cause of this crash.
Through Freedom of Information laws 13WHAM News has requested the DOT provide any and all data regarding traffic studies, construction, maintenance, or public concerns that remains on file and related to this intersection. A DOT representative confirmed receipt of this request on Tuesday.
The DOT is also able to receive comments, suggestions, and feedback about that intersection from members of the public. You can email the DOT at: R4PROJECTS@dot.ny.gov