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State DOT to improve Wheatland intersection

Wheatland, N.Y. --- Tuesday afternoon the New York State Department of Transportation announced plans to install a four-way stop at the intersection of Route 36 (Riga-Mumford Rd) and North Road.

Three weeks ago this intersection was the scene of a crash that killed three young adults from Caledonia. Two others were hospitalized and are still recovering from severe injuries.

Authorities said a tractor trailer headed south on Route 36 struck a Jeep with five young adults between the age of 17 and 21. Investigators stated at the scene that the truck driver had no time to react and that the Jeep, headed eastbound on North Road, made an initial stop at the intersection before proceeding into the road an instant before the collision.

Since the crash neighbors and local leaders have expressed concerns about safety at that intersection. Those concerns date back to the 1980s when Wheatlands Town Board asked the DOT to consider installing a traffic signal or four-way stop sign. Many of the concerns centered around the visibility of drivers looking to the north for traffic coming south on Route 36. Concerns about traffic headed south on Route 36 not being able to see vehicles approaching the intersection from the east and west were also brought up.

Following the accident a work group led by New York State Senator Patrick Gallivan (R, Elma) was formed to take a closer look at those concerns. County, state, and town leaders joined this work group and gathered additional information and data about the intersection. The groups plan was to assess the data and then request traffic safety improvements of the DOT.

Late Tuesday the DOT announced its intention to make many changes being discussed. The state plans to install a four-way stop this week and in doing so it will put up two stop signs at each leg of the intersection; one on each side of the road. New pavement striping and Stop Ahead signs will be added to provide advance warning according to a release from the DOT. Work to trim back trees and bushes and to remove an approximately five-foot-high dirt berm along the west side of Route 36 will also take place. The DOT has cooperation from property owners in that area and believes it will extend sight distances to the north for drivers approaching that intersection.

With community support and new information from law enforcement officials and others, NYSDOT was able to devise additional improvements that will make this location safer, Sen. Gallivan is quoted as saying the media release from the DOT.

Safety is our top priority, NYSDOT Commissioner Joan McDonald stated in that release. After a thorough engineering analysis, the New York State Department of Transportation has decided to install a four-way stop at Route 36 and North Road to make the intersection even safer, ensuring that each vehicle stops before proceeding.

Sean Carroll, 13WHAM-TV
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