MOUNT LIBERTY — Over the years, several eastbound drivers approaching Mount Liberty have gone off the right side of a long curve leading into the village, ending up in a pond. The most recent incident was in April, when a woman, whose car went into the pond, was rescued by other drivers who saw the mishap.
The concern about cars missing the curve and going into the pond at the west edge of Mount Liberty is being addressed by the Ohio Department of Transportation, which is in the process of determining whether there is a need for a guard rail on the curve. The process will take about four weeks to complete, according to Kate Stickle, District 5 communications director. The Planning Department of ODOT is responsible for determining the need for highway improvements.
Stickle said officials first look at the Ohio State Highway Patrol’s history of accidents in the area, going back three years looking for trends at the location involved. Post 59 Commander Lt. Chad McGinty said ODOT will probably talk with him about any ideas the department has on making the curve safer.
The geometry of the road and the curve are closely scrutinized during the investigation, Stickle said. Examination of sight distances approaching the curve is also part of the process.
Columbia Gas Transmission Co. takes no chances with its installations located close to a road. Just west of the curve at Mount Liberty is a Columbia installation that includes a building and some exposed lines. The building and lines are just a few feet off the south side of the road, with a sturdy fence surrounding the area. Columbia officials put in steel posts and a railing around buildings or exposed gas lines in locations where there is a potential for vehicles to leave the road and damage the equipment.
Mount Liberty is in the coverage area of the Central Ohio Joint Fire District, which responds to traffic problems on the curve. COJFD Chief Joe Porter said his department will not be involved in the planning for any changes on the curve.