Officials Rally For Safety Changes At Two Berlin Intersections

Officials Rally For Safety Changes At Two Berlin Intersections
The fatal accident in the early morning hours of Feb. 6 shut down southbound Route 113 for hours. Photo by Christopher Casale

BERLIN –  Within hours of a fatal accident at the intersection of Route 113 and South Main Street last week, local officials expressed their commitment to pursuing safety improvements.

Sen. Mary Beth Carozza has reached out to Maryland’s State Highway Administration (SHA) and Berlin’s elected officials agreed to draft a letter outlining their concerns regarding the intersection to send to relevant agencies.

“I’m hoping that we’ll see something not years from now but in the more immediate future,” Mayor Gee Williams said.

Last Thursday, Parsonsburg resident Johnnie Derrickson was killed in a motor vehicle collision at the intersection of Route 113 and South Main Street. Area residents were quick to express concerns about the safety of the intersection, which has seen its share of accidents, on social media. Within hours of the accident Carozza had asked SHA to perform an assessment of the intersection.

“This horrible collision and the death of Mr. Derrickson—and I join the community in mourning his death—it prompted many questions and comments on the safety of that intersection,” she said.

Carozza said SHA had been extremely responsive and was already at work researching the issue. She said SHA officials were pulling the accident data for the intersection for the past three years and would look at the number and severity of accidents as well as the volume of traffic.

“That assessment is supposed to be completed later this week or early next week,” she said Thursday. “It is on the fast track.”

Once the assessment is complete, SHA will make recommendations on potential safety improvements.

Berlin officials have also expressed their interest in seeing changes made to the busy roadway. On Monday, Councilman Zack Tyndall suggested the town contact the county’s 911 center to compile accident data for both the Route 113 intersection as well as the intersection of Route 50 and Route 818.

“Those are both pretty dangerous intersections,” he said. “We’ve talked about some of the growth that’s taking place and some of the volume increase that we may be seeing with the dualization of the highway. I think that we need to look at advocating for lights at those two intersections.”

Williams said he agreed. He said he thought even the addition of a blinking signal would help.

“I don’t understand why, without any great big fuss, couldn’t we at least put those blinking signals in there and then do the traffic studies,” he said.

With the consensus of the council, Williams agreed to draft a letter citing the town’s concerns.

Tyndall indicated that the sooner the town shared its concerns the sooner improvements could be made.

“I just think if we can at least get some data and get the ball moving in that direction, there are a lot of buses and people heading to work every morning,” he said. “It’s a dangerous spot. Both of them.”

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.