It has been a 40 year dream for Spencer County to realize a four-lane US Hwy 231 connecting them to Owensboro, Ky. and Interstate 64. Elected officials, business leaders and countless community members applauded its completion late this spring. It was one more element of infrastructure to continue the economic growth and improved quality of place in Spencer County.
However, this new four-lane highway has now resulted in multiple fatalities at both intersections around Dale. The intersections are currently designed according to state and federal standards, and after the first fatality INDOT installed additional rumble strips and signs at Hwy 162. This and any additional traffic control measures are above and beyond what is required. Still, the accidents and fatalities have continued. This week another death resulted as we lost Danny Hines of Dale at State Road 68 as the car in which he was a passenger failed to yield to a semi-truck. Our prayers go out to the Hines family and those who have lost loved ones to unnecessary accidents such as this.
I have been in communications with INDOT, as it has become apparent that the earlier solution was not sufficient. The safety of motorists, workers and those who use Indiana highways is a top priority for INDOT, as well, and they share our concerns. INDOT currently studies every fatality on our highways and will continue to monitor the intersections of Hwy 231 at SR 68 and Hwy 162. I will do all I can to encourage them to move quickly in their studies to help us ensure no more lives are taken.
And, I ask for your help. I have had several reach out with their own stories about accidents and near casualties at these intersections. INDOT has expressed interest in these as well. If you have a story, please share it with my office. We will compile and forward them to INDOT. Describe your accident or near accident including the specific intersection. Further, if you believe you know what is causing these accidents, perceptually or behaviorally, I'd like to hear from you as well. Please headline your e-mail "Hwy 231 Accident" and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the meantime, please slow down as you travel around the town of Dale on Hwy 231 and be particularly careful as you cross at SR 68 or Hwy 162. Currently, from INDOT's studies the most common cause of fatalities at these intersections is when drivers fail to yield the right of way. I know I am as guilty as anyone to maximize my speed and always in a hurry, but please stop at the intersections and yield to oncoming traffic. Given the tragedies of late, let's all take extra caution for our own lives and, as importantly, the lives of others who share the roadways with us.
I will continue to work with INDOT and appreciate your help in ensuring the safety of our roads.
Rep. Sue Ellspermann (R-Ferdinand)