"It's getting worse and worse," said Richard Leonard, Wellersburg Borough councilman and volunteer firefighter. "The mountain is so treacherous. I'd say 99 percent of the accidents involve big trucks." Leonard said the portion of Route 160 in Southampton Township and Wellersburg Borough has earned a reputation in recent years for its heavy truck traffic. Twin Ridges Wind Farm — which will be the county's largest wind farm once completed — utilizes the road along with trucks traveling to Maryland, Leonard said.
Wellersburg Borough officials are at odds regarding the safety of Route 160 after two crashes left people injured this week.
Russell Albright of Wellersburg was taken to Western Maryland Regional Medical Center in Cumberland with moderate injuries Friday after his pickup truck struck the back of a tractor-trailer. State police said the tractor-trailer driven by Allen B. Greene of New York turned from Glencoe Road onto Route 160 when the crash occurred in Southampton Township. Greene was not injured. A state police trooper said that fog and speeding were factors in the crash.
Two people were injured Tuesday when a garbage truck overturned near the same location.
“It’s getting worse and worse,” said Richard Leonard, Wellersburg Borough councilman and volunteer firefighter. “The mountain is so treacherous. I’d say 99 percent of the accidents involve big trucks.”
Leonard said the portion of Route 160 in Southampton Township and Wellersburg Borough has earned a reputation in recent years for its heavy truck traffic. Twin Ridges Wind Farm – which will be the county’s largest wind farm once completed – utilizes the road along with trucks traveling to Maryland, Leonard said.
The area is a part of Savage Mountain and has a steep 6 to 9 percent grade.
“I’ll be sitting in my house and I’ll hear something like thunder rolling through, and it’s the trucks,” he said.
Mount Harmony United Methodist Church – located at the bottom of the mountain – has been damaged and has had several near misses from out-of-control trucks, Leonard said. The church sustained moderate damage in March 2011 when it was struck by a tractor-trailer hauling bottled water.
Leonard has petitioned state police to spend more time in the area to curb speeding. Not everyone agrees with his assessment of the road’s dangers, however.
Fellow borough Councilman William Rowley argued that although there have been accidents, they haven’t been unusual.
“I think given our amount of traffic, we’re right in the norm for accidents,” he said. “Not all the wrecks are caused by speeding. A lot of the problem is that strangers just aren’t familiar with the road.”
Rowley admitted that there should be more signs and flashing lights warning drivers about the road’s curves and steep grade. Because Route 160 is a state road, however, those decisions are out of the borough’s control, he added.
Rowley said the borough’s resources in the matter are limited. The municipality has an annual budget of about $9,000, he said.
“Maybe we just oughta move the town,” he quipped. “It is what it is. State police are stretched thin already and we can’t expect them to be here all the time. What can we do about it?”
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