Official wants Jefferson road fixed
Supervisor Jim Jones made it clear at this month's meeting that he will not be discouraged in his attempts to tame Bonniebrook Road.
Once an isolated, quiet farm road, Bonniebrook is now a popular shortcut off Route 356 between Jefferson Township and Butler.
It's treacherous when covered with snow, increasingly crowded with traffic and the target of more complaints each year.
'The longer we wait to do something, the worse it is going to get,' Jones said.
Jones said he hopes to buy a couple of homes that sit very near bends in the road and demolish them so the road can be straightened. He also said he hopes to find ways to flatten some of the more extreme hills on the road.
Neither Jones nor any other township officials know how much such a project would cost. But they know they can't afford any expensive planning.
Supervisors found this month that an engineering study of the road would cost $15,000 to $18,000, which they said is more than the township can afford.
Jones, however, is undaunted.
'Needless to say, we're not going to spend that money for someone to tell us what we already know we need to do,' he said.
Supervisor Tom Ferraro agreed, saying the problem with Bonniebrook Road is obvious.
'A lot of times, a person can just eyeball and kind of visualize where it ought to go,' he said.
Supervisor John Cypher questioned whether skipping an engineering study would be wise. Without it, he asked, how would the township know the real scope of the project?
'If you don't have an engineering study to tell you, how do you know which properties you need?' he asked.
Cypher suggested the real problem on the road is speeders. If drivers respected the potential danger of the narrow, windy road and went slowly, there might be fewer accidents, he said.
Marge Geist owns a home that would most likely be demolished to straighten the road. The house, which belonged to her parents, is empty. She and her sister would be willing to sell it to the township to help improve Bonniebrook, she said.
Geist now has her own house across the road from her parents' home and lives in fear of the
accidents that she said have become common.
'We've never been able to let the kids play in the front yard because we're afraid of the wrecks,' she said. 'And we have a guard rail in our yard. It's not very attractive, but we need it.'
Particularly on Friday nights in the summer, Geist said the road is heavily traveled by cars going too fast because Lernerville Speedway fans use Bonniebrook Road as a shortcut to the race track.
When her family first moved to the area, Bonniebrook was quieter, Geist said.
'It used to be a dirt road with a bad bend,' she said. 'We used to know everyone who drove past and now we know no one. My parents lost I can't tell you how many mailboxes and trees out front.'
Jones said he believes the township must make fixing Bonniebrook Road a priority, despite any obstacles.
'I think if we don't do something here, we're just biding our time until someone is seriously hurt,' Jones said.
Wynne Everett can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org