Plan to reduce accidents on U.S. 52 in New Palestine

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NEW PALESTINE, Ind. — The Hancock County Highway Department said the portion of U.S. 52 that runs through New Palestine is a problem area.

A study recorded nearly 200 crashes in two years there, and the road only stretches for about two miles in the town.

“There are so many people accessing the roadway. Every 50 feet you have a driveway or a road coming onto it,” said Gary Pool, the county engineer.

Between 2016 and 2018, the highway department recorded 147 property damage crashes and 44 others resulting in possible injury. Pool is proposing a plan to move more cars off U.S. 52 and reduce accidents.

“My plan is to divert school and bus traffic that is going west from the high school from football games or regular school days,” he said. “Give them an option west without having to get on 52.”

He is hoping to extend Stinemyer Road to County Road 500 West, which is right next to New Palestine High School.

Southern Hancock County Schools applauds any idea that would encourage students to stay off this busy road. Not long ago, the town put up flashing signs at a crosswalk in front of the high school.

There is also a project on campus to add more parking spots so students can enter and exit a different way.

“Giving them easy ways in and easy ways out is a high priority for us,” said Wes Anderson, spokesperson for Southern Hancock County Schools.

The county’s idea on Stinemyer Road would cost about $800,000. Pool is applying for a grant so they can make this road safer.

“If we get 10 percent of the traffic off there, we will see a seven or eight percent reduction in accidents,” said Pool.

The highway department said if you support this plan, give INDOT a call and let them know.

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