Concerns Surface Over Berlin Intersection

BERLIN – Recent motor vehicle accidents at the busy intersection of Berlin’s Main Street and Old Ocean City Boulevard could be prevented in future by improving visibility.

Berlin resident Jim Hoppa, who witnessed an accident at Main Street and Old Ocean City Boulevard a few weeks ago, raised the question of visibility improvements at that intersection during the public comments section of the Berlin Mayor and Council meeting Monday night.

Hoppa witnessed a car traveling west on Old Ocean City Boulevard hit an SUV traveling south on Main Street earlier this summer, causing the SUV to roll to within five feet of his own car.

Later, Hoppa wondered if visibility could have been a factor in the crash, he told the town council.

The residential property just north of the Cheers convenience store and fueling station, which is on the northeast corner of that intersection, has a large tree stump in the yard blocking the sight lines of westbound drivers stopped at the sign on Old Ocean City Boulevard, Hoppa said. That tree stump or trunk masks or conceals vehicles driving south on Main St. from those drivers.

“If that stump was removed and maybe a lilac bush, there’d be more visibility,” Hoppa said.

Berlin Police Chief Arnold Downing confirmed during Monday night’s meeting that this particular intersection has seen two accidents due to visibility.

The Berlin Police Department has sent the owner of the residential property north of Cheers a letter requesting removal of the tree stump to improve visibility and safety at the intersection, according to Arnold.

If the property owner does not do anything about the vegetation interfering with the sight line, Downing said Monday night he would recommend that the town get involved and remove the trees in the sight line.

“If you can remove those obstacles, I think it could be a safety benefit to every one of us,” Hoppa said. “People who live here are aware of the visibility problem and I think we’re a little more cautious. This is a dangerous intersection at times if you’re not familiar with it.”

Councilwoman Lisa Hall recognized the need to address the safety concerns.

“That intersection’s become a problem. There’s more and more traffic there,” said Hall.

“We would definitely suggest people go ahead and be careful,” said Downing.