Safety concerns heighten after several crashes on Route 31 in Sweden

Local News
Safety concerns heighten after several crashes on Route 31 in Sweden

Several recent crashes on Route 31 in Sweden have residents saying the busy road is only getting more dangerous.

The most congested area is between Owens Road and Sherry Lane with Wal Mart in between- but the Sweden town supervisor, Kevin Johnson, said he has concerns about the area as far down as where 531 begins all the way to Redman Road.

“We have accidents along that whole stretch almost on a daily basis. So are they all serious, no, but some are and certainly there have been a number of fatal accidents on that stretch, especially when you look at the intersection of 19 and 31. That’s a dangerous intersection,” said Johnson.

“The accidents are usually pretty horrific when they do happen along the 31 stretch,” said resident Ruth Moore.

Some residents said they think there are so many accidents on this stretch of Route 31 because of speeding, following too closely to the car in front of you, and the amount of traffic due to Wal Mart and Lowes.

Johnson said the road gets congested causing rear-end collisions and long waits in traffic. He’s put in requests with the department of transportation asking for a new traffic light and speed limit reductions. Both were rejected.

“One of the DOT’s rejection letters specifically addressed the number of accidents in the area and they said they did not rise to the level of requiring any major changes to the roadway. They weren’t the type or the character of accidents to require those kinds of changes,” said Johnson.

Resident Sally Rubiano said those two changes would make a huge difference.

“I think if they put a light on Sherry that would be good because there’s also traffic coming out of Spurr which is right across the street,” said Rubiano.

Ruth Moore said the problem starts further down the road.

“My husband and I believe that 531 does need to be extended farther west than where it terminates right now,” said Moore.

Johnson said he hopes to see his and resident’s requests fulfilled soon, but for now, he tells people to have patience and slow down on that road.

The DOT is making one change to the road. They said this today in a statement:

“The Department recently completed a traffic safety review for this section of Route 31. Based upon the analysis we performed, which included recent crash data and traffic volumes, the review recommended the installation of a center two-way left turn lane to enhance safety and improve access. Based on these recommendations, we expect to move forward with a project in this area sometime in the near future.”

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