Traveling along a short but dangerous and narrow stretch of North Ewing Street in Brownstown is about to become safer.
Dale Shelton, the town’s street superintendent, recently told the town council that he ordered directional signs and concave mirrors to put up in that area.
The signs will warn motorists of the road curving, while the mirrors will allow them to see vehicles coming toward them in the opposite direction.
The signs and mirrors were determined to be the best solution for the 400 block of North Ewing Street that has a couple of blind curves.
During a council meeting in August, town resident Sid Connell shared his concerns to see what could be done to make the area safer.
He had driven through a blind curve on the street near the town limits and had a close encounter with a semitrailer.
Connell said he had to stop because the truck took up the whole road.
“If I hadn’t stopped and panicked and hit the gas, that’s exactly where I would have been — under his back wheels. There was nowhere for me to go, absolutely nowhere,” Connell told the council at a meeting in August.
“He did stop, and I thought he was still going to hit me,” he said. “You probably could have put a piece of paper between his trailer and my front fender. … I don’t know how he knew he wasn’t going to hit me. It was that close.”
Connell said concave mirrors were one option to make the curves safer, but he thought it could be difficult for drivers to look at that while trying to keep their eyes on the road.
Other options he suggested were not allowing semitrailers on that part of the street, reducing the speed limit or placing “Slow down” signs.
The narrow road doesn’t give drivers much room to move if a large vehicle is heading toward them. The road has been washed out and repaired a few times. In some spots, the road is still crumbled. In one area, a dropoff is filled with rock.
There also is an area with a concrete slab that sticks out where there’s a chuckhole, creating another safety hazard.
Numerous times, Connell said he has had to stop and try to get off of the road because of the large vehicles coming around the curves.
“If you meet a semitrailer coming around that corner, which he’s coming to a blind curve, too, you have to get off the road,” he said. “The only way you can get off is in that chuckhole and where that concrete is sticking out there with a point on it, which is either going to blow your tire, tear a rim up or something.”
The road can’t be widened at the top of the hill because of a cemetery, and there are railroad tracks near the other curve.
“The road on both sides of those two curves is not in very good shape,” Connell said. “There are ditches where rainwater has washed them out, so when you meet a car or especially a semitrailer — the semitrailer is what I’m concerned with — there is no place for you to go. If you get off the road, you’re going to damage your car.”