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Highway Committee talks safety along Plank Road

DeKALB – Julie Weingarz spoke with passion about her desire to bring safety to her neighborhood as the DeKalb County Highway Committee listened.

“The recent two fatalities on Plank Road are heartbreaking and simply unacceptable,” Weingarz said, referring to the Dec. 21 fatal crash involving Kal-el Sexton, 17, and his mother, Dalahn Colley, 46.

Weingarz updated the committee on the number of signatures she’s compiled on her petition, now at 230. She and about 25 other DeKalb County residents showed up to the Nov. 7 DeKalb County Highway Committee meeting to discuss the petition. There were fewer attendees at the meeting Thursday evening.

“What will the magic number be that will get you to consider the small, inexpensive safety improvements we seek?” Weingarz asked the committee. “How many people must die or be injured?”

The petition requests a re-striping of the yellow line on Plank Road from the south edge of Moose Range Road eastward to beyond the S-curve east of Lukens Road with a double, solid yellow stripe to indicate a No Passing Zone.

Weingarz said continuing to allow a passing zone on that section of Plank Road encourages reckless behavior.

“Most people would think twice before crossing a double-yellow line to pass, knowing there’s no defense of that decision that would hold up in court,” she said.

Nathan Schwartz, DeKalb County highway engineer said he wants safe roads, just as Weingarz does.

“We are looking at various options to try to address safety concerns,” Schwartz said. “Some of those include signage, altered speed zones, additional lanes for passing and turning and major changes like road realignment.”

As far as those big changes, there’s a lot to consider, Schwartz said. He said he wants to make the best decision moving forward.

“Since we are using taxpayer dollars for these projects, we want to make sure we do the best solution the first time,” Schwartz said. “We certainly don’t want to make a change, which we think is an improvement, but later find out there were unforeseen negative consequences.”

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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