City council addresses road safety concerns

The Cameron City Council may soon resolve issues with a potentially dangerous intersection following a Roadway Safety Assessment by the Missouri Transportation Advisory Committee. 

The Roadway Safety Assessment highlighted potential solutions to increase the safety at the intersection of McElwain Drive and Highway 36, which has become a transportation artery for Cameron with it resting in the middle of multiple growing commercial developments.

“I went back and looked at our accident for the past two years. In 2019, so far, we’ve had four non-injury accidents and three injury accidents in that intersection. In 2018, for the entire year, we had four injury accidents and two non-injury accidents,” said Cameron Police Chief Rick Bashor, who along with Cameron Fire Chief Mike O’Donnell and other public works and public safety agencies made recommendations as part of the Missouri Transportation Advisory Committee. “When the state went through and looked at the statistics, and compared it to other intersections, this intersection was extremely low and did not hit their high threshold – even though it seems like there is a lot of talk about that intersection and it is a tough intersection to get through.”

Drew Bontrager, Cameron public works director, said many of the solutions proposed he already heard requested from members of the city council such as painting isles and installing flashers to warn of motorists entering into the intersection. He added the recommendations are a method to immediately improve traffic safety. 

“Every year the committee selects what they view as a priority whether it is a safety, design, an engineering concern or construction concern,” Bontrager said. “We get all of the local agencies, local police forces, fire departments, ambulances, engineers and public works directors together and we go out and do a site visit. This year we recommended McElwain Drive. In previous years we recommended Highway 36 in Osborn, where the really sharp curve was that they reconstructed … The goal is to look for the easier stuff we can do to make a big impact until a longer-term solution is discovered.”

Although only a short-term solution, Councilman L. Corey Sloan said any improvement to McElwain Drive-will be welcome. He said the department of transportation currently classifies it as a Type-1 Intersection, which is the only one of its type in the state of Missouri.

“Is that the only Type-1 Intersection in the state of Missouri now, since they fixed the one north of Columbia on [Highway 63]? The answer is yes,” Sloan said. “We’re the only one that still has that Type-1 intersection in the entire state, which MoDoT has said is one of the most dangerous type of intersections you can have in the state. I’m really glad you guys are working on this. Unfortunately, I’ve had the opportunity to work some really bad accidents out there that don’t show up in the study and it needs to be fixed. I’ve been working on it for 15 years.”


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