Crashes and complaints drive city to close intersection

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LAWRENCE, Ind. – Too many crashes and even more complaints. Lawrence Police felt the only way to make a street safer was to shut it down.

For years, the intersection of 46th Street and Franklin Road has been known as dangerous corner.

“We’ve got to do something about this,” said Gary Woodruff, Deputy Chief with the Lawrence Police Department.

The posted speed limit is 35 mph. Drivers going too fast is just part of the problem. There’s a hill as drivers come over the railroad tracks which makes it tough to see the stop sign ahead.

“Obviously thousands of cars safely navigate this intersection on a daily basis but there are those few, and those few are enough to warrant further study and to close it down for now,” said Woodruff.

The latest accident was the one that prompted action. On May 30, a driver smashed through the side wall of Swift Air Mechanics. Two employees were hurt and are still recovering.

“It was an absolute insane freak accident but it impacted us all very heavily,” said Aubrey Rhea, a Swift Air Mechanics employee.

Just feet away, a patriotic cross marks the end of a deadly police chase.

“This is also considered hallowed ground here at Lawrence Police. This is where an officer was killed in the line of duty back in 2005,” said Woodruff.

Crews looked at adding signage, rumble strips, flashing lights, and extra patrols. Officials decided barricades were the best option.

“Ultimately it comes down to funding. I know some things are being looked at the mayor’s office level, as far as to how to fund an improvement project here,” said Woodruff.

A permanent plan is still in the works. The closure is not expected to impact emergency response times. School bus drivers were also notified.

“I would definitely say that would be a move in the right direction as far as the safety of this area,” said Rhea.