The Maryland State Highway Administration deserves credit for acting quickly to address concerns about the intersection of state Routes 55 and 36 near Vale Summit.
Following a fatal collision at the intersection in August, Delegate Kevin Kelly and Allegany County Board of Education members asked the state to determine if anything could be done to make the crossroad safer for travelers.
Although the SHA determined that a traffic light is not warranted at the intersection, it has agreed to install new solar-powered stop signs. New, oversized flashing LED stop signs will be installed on both Vale Summit Road and Cabin Run Road. The agency said studies show the signs are effective in improving stop sign compliance.
The other step to be taken by the SHA is to upgrade advance signing associated with the intersection. Some signs will be upgraded to ensure the best retro-reflectivity at night. On Vale Summit Road the stop-ahead sign will be relocated to coincide with the first set of rumble strips, while on Cabin Run Road a new stop-ahead sign will be installed.
The intersection has long had a public perception of being dangerous. But the SHA said statistics do not bear that out. There were 14 police-reported accidents from January 2001 through June 2012. But four years during that period had no accident reports.
Nevertheless, one accident is too many. The safety improvements planned by the state may diminish the accident rate even further.