[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Special Report: Danger Ahead

Updated: Wednesday, November 6, 2013 |
Special Report: Danger Ahead story image
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - In the past 13 months, there have been three deaths on the US-131 business loop north of Kalamazoo.

They have all happened on the curve which stretches less than a quarter-mile long.

Newschannel 3 began digging into what's being done to fix this dangerous area, and the Michigan Department of Transportation says a solution is in the works.

The first thing we found out is that many drivers are confused about what the speed limit is.

It's posted at 35 on Westnedge, but once you enter the freeway, there's no speed  limit signs until after a 90 degree turn.

We found drivers will take this curve from 25 all the way up to 70 miles per hour.

It's just a bend in the road; a simple curve navigated flawlessly by drivers thousands of times a day.

But crashes and fatal accident scenes are forcing action.

“Clearly there are some safety concerns with these curves,” said Nick Schirippa with M-DOT.

And there are many factors to consider: speed, signage, the degree and banking of the curves, and driver behavior.

“We can't drive for people,” Schirippa said.

These are not new problems with this section of road.

“Back in 1999 we originally put a speed limit of 35 miles per hour on the corner,” said Michigan State Police Sergeant Jim Campbell.

Sgt. Campbell investigates crashes for the Michigan State Police. He says political pressure forced the change in 1999.

“Semi truck rolled over and landed on top of a car and killed a lady in a car crash,” Sgt. Campbell said. “Based on that, M-DOT said we have to do something with the corner.”

Now, those black and white 35 mile per hour signs are gone.

It turns out they conflicted with the Michigan Traffic Control Manual.

“(The manual) said that we really shouldn't set an absolute speed on corners,” Campbell recalled. “And we also found that people don't obey black and white signs very well.”

And Campbell says there's been another big change here since 1999.

“At that time the whole business section through there was 55 all the way out to US-131,” he said.

Now just north of this curve, it's 70 in both directions and we found the average driver heading north out of Kalamazoo routinely takes the curve well above it's former 35 mile per hour speed limit.

And those heading south into the curve are frequently moving even faster.

“We're trying to find an optimal speed for those curves,” Schirippa said.

So we met up with some engineers from M-DOT, as well as Schirippa, to do just that, with a sliding dash mounted M-DOT tool.

First we took the curve heading south, then heading back north at the same speed.

After a dozen laps it was clear 35 is a good advisory speed. But both M-DOT and MSP already knew that.

State Police say they have determined a course of action.

First, a black and white 55 mile mile per hour sign will be posted right at Dunkley for northbound traffic, and then a black and yellow 40 mile per hour advisory sign will be posted heading into the northbound curve.

Finally, more chevrons will be installed in the hopes of grabbing drivers attention.

But again, all the signage in the world won't help if drivers chose to ignore it.
comments powered by Disqus
advertisement

What do you want to see?

If you have a story idea for the I-Team, you can contact us using the form below or by calling 269-388-4612.
Please re-enter the code shown in the image below.

Business News

Last Update on August 27, 2014 17:13 GMT

ECONOMIC FORECAST

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Congressional Budget Office is forecasting that the U.S. economy will grow by just 1.5 percent in 2014, undermined by a poor performance during the first three months of the year.

The new assessment was considerably more pessimistic than that of the Obama administration, which predicted last month that the economy would expand by 2.6 percent this year even though it contracted by an annual rate of 2.1 percent in the first quarter.

The economy did grow by 0.9 percent during the first half of 2014.

Looking ahead, the CBO said it expects the economy to grow by 3.4 percent over 2015 and 2016, and predicted that the unemployment rate would remain below 6 percent into the future.

SEC-CRISIS RULES

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Financial firms that sell securities backed by loans, like the kind that fueled the 2008 financial crisis, will have to give investors details on borrowers' credit record and income under action taken Wednesday by federal regulators.

The Securities and Exchange Commission adopted the rules for securities linked to mortgages and auto loans on a 5-0 vote.

The commissioners also voted, 3-2, to impose conflict-of-interest rules on the agencies that rate the debt of companies, governments and issues of securities.

Home mortgages bundled into securities and sold on Wall Street soured after the housing bubble burst in 2007, losing billions in value. The vast sales of risky securities ignited the crisis that plunged the economy into the deepest recession since the Great Depression and brought a taxpayer bailout of banks.

FRANCE-LAGARDE-CORRUPTION

PARIS (AP) -- IMF chief Christine Lagarde has been put under official investigation for negligence in a French corruption probe that dates back to her days as France's finance minister.

After a fourth round of questioning before magistrates today, Lagarde said she would return to her work in Washington later in the day and said in a statement the investigation was "without basis." She is the third IMF managing director in a decade to face legal troubles.

Lagarde and her former chief of staff face questions about their role in a 400 million-euro ($531 million) payment to a businessman with a checkered past.

Under French law, the official investigation is equivalent to preliminary charges, meaning there is reason to suspect an infraction. Investigating judges can later drop a case or issue formal charges and send it to trial.

TERRORIST SANCTIONS

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Treasury Department has sanctioned a leader and a financial network used by a Pakistan-based terrorist group blamed for the 2008 attack in Mumbai, India that killed 166 people.

Treasury sanctioned Muhammad Iqbal and Asma Money Exchangers for their suspected ties to Lashkar-e-Taiba (LAHSH'-kahr ee TOY'-buh). David Cohen, undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said Iqbal uses his business to conduct financial transactions on behalf of the terrorist organization and its affiliates.

Lashkar-e-Taiba, a well-organized group based in Pakistan's Punjab province, also is suspected of having historical ties to Pakistani intelligence.

The action freezes any assets they might have in U.S. jurisdiction and bans U.S. citizens from doing business with them.

GENERAL MOTORS-TENNESSEE FACTORY

SPRING HILL, Tenn. (AP) -- General Motors is moving production of the next-generation Cadillac SRX crossover SUV from Mexico to a factory in Spring Hill, Tennessee.

The company also announced that it will add production of some small gasoline engines to the Spring Hill complex.

The additions will bring more jobs to Spring Hill, but a spokesman wouldn't give specifics on how many would be added to the sprawling former Saturn facility about 40 miles south of Nashville.

The complex now employs just over 2,300 workers, including hourly and salaried employees and those who work for parts supply companies.

advertisement