Crash-prone road needs evaluation

Mercury Drive in Grand Haven Township has come under scrutiny lately because of two serious crashes — one of which claimed the life of a young man — earlier this month.
Apr 15, 2013

 

Those crashes certainly aren’t isolated incidents.

Mercury Drive has been a problem spot for drivers for decades. Whether it’s the 45 mph speed limit, the twists and turns as the road follows the contours of the Grand River, the sudden subtle elevation changes, or other factors, the road has seen more than its share of auto crashes through the years.

It’s time for something to be done about it.

One solution would be to put a stoplight at the intersection of Mercury Drive and Groesbeck Street.

This intersection has become busier and busier as more and more subdivisions have been built in the township. Longtime residents of the township remember when 152nd Avenue was a sleepy street with only a handful of houses interrupting the woods that lined both sides of the pavement.

Now, 152nd — which intersects with Groesbeck — is the gateway to a multitude of subdivisions, including the sprawling Forest Park, along with condominium units and other housing developments.

Much of the traffic from this rapid growth uses the Mercury Drive-to-Groesbeck route to get to and from Grand Haven. That makes turning onto Mercury Drive a nightmare at busy times of the day.

Compounding the difficulty is the limited line of sight from the stop sign at Groesbeck when looking to the southeast. Traffic coming down the road at 50-plus mph is on top of you in a second.

Would a stoplight at that intersection have made any difference in the two crashes that took place just hours apart earlier this month? Maybe. Maybe not.

The truck that crashed through a barrier and ended up in the muddy channel of the Grand River near Millhouse Bayou at about 10 p.m. may have had its progress slowed by such a light. That spot is only a few hundred yards from the intersection in question.

The fatal crash that happened earlier that day may not have been avoided, since that took place in the wee hours of the morning when the traffic signal likely would have been flashing yellow to traffic on Mercury Drive.

Still, as more and more people move into Grand Haven Township and the roads in that area become busier and busier, something needs to be done to make Mercury Drive a safe corridor for traffic between the city and the township.

A stoplight along the way would, if nothing else, force drivers to keep their eyes open and their speed in check along this busy thoroughfare.

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to news@grandhaventribune.com or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.

Comments

truthhurts

here we go, something always needs to be done; just so they can say something was done. Even though it may not be right or neccesary. Spend money, spend money. YOU CAN"T FIX STUPID!!! don't drive fast, don't try to pass, don't drive drunk, don't drive on drugs, don't talk on your f'in phone, and BAM the road is 100% safe.

LessThanAmused

Hard to argue with this sentiment....my dad used to say that most all car accidents were due to the loose nut behind the wheel. I don't see where that isn't the same case today. It's human stupidy that causes most of the carnage and pain in the world.

NoWay

From your own article on the crashes.

Austin said there is nothing in the investigative reports to show any unusual circumstances that could have contributed to either crash on Saturday.

The crash that killed McGregor occurred near Ammeraal Avenue, about a half-mile south of Comstock Street. The second crash, which occurred shortly after 10 p.m., was on the approach to the Millhouse Bayou bridge, just southeast of Bignell Drive.

“The fatal crash was speed related,” Austin said. “The second crash into the guardrail was speed and alcohol related.”

The speed limit and sight lines are just fine for the road.

Illegal speeding and alcohol have been the causes of the crashes!!!!!!

What a stupid, stupid opinion article!!!!

SHEESH! ARRRRGGGHHHHH!!!!

It used to be a two lane road with passing allowed. I lived in the township for years and never considered it an unsafe road.

An unsafe driver will still be an unsafe driver.

Stupid, stupid 'article'.

Ghpeytonfan

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Libel and defamation.

jjabrahms

LOL there needs to be a Like Button here :)

christopher

A traffic light at Groesbeck and Mercury? Are you serious? Have you ever actually been out that way. Do NOT start putting traffic lights there.

GHJames

I think I see an opportunity here. Let the trib staff run the road commission for a while and get the county plow drivers to edit the paper! This could be very good for all of us.

gordbzz231

mercury drive is good the way it is, nothing needs to be changed, what i heard from neighbors out there is we need police patrol, how often do you see a police car from off waverly to the bayou stopping cars for speeding, almost never, about once a month you would see a patrol car sitting at mercury and 160th, guess he got bored and left, until next month or someone complains about speeding, noise or maybe just looking for someone, the brown boys had fast cars and hot rod 2 or 3 times a week, i would swear at 100 miles an hour, this happened a few times i was sitting in the front yard watching traffic and people walking their dogs, wssss at blink of an eye, what was that, he would come back slow and turn into his drive, anyway you have an idea living out there, yes, more patrol would be the answer

SignalMaintainer

The cops are ALWAYS patrolling and chatting with the staff in the private River Haven trailer park though. They should not be doing traffic enforcement in a private trailer park. You NEVER see them on Mercury though. I think the officer is probably friends with or related to someone in the management at that trailer park.

If only the local building inspector would spend that much time in there, he could fund the township with all the fines... I had the unfortunate joy of living in there for a year, and even in the 'brand new' 'home' there were some rather obvious building code violations such as no GFCI outlets around the sink, and smoke detectors not wired up. I did a lot of handyman projects myself to bring that crappy Sun Home trailer up to code.

michiglen

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Libel and defamation.

michiglen

On reflection there may have been an association between decision makers and suppliers that was unfounded and probably unfair. Apologies for this discretion..

But the root cause of accidents on Mercury and any other road remains....

Ineptitude, inattention, intoxication.

Take the "I" out of the equasion....

Be trained. Be smart. Be sober!

Be good in your self. Drive safe!!

gordbzz231

oh yes, the trib forgot one accident, 20 years ago a black ford bronco crashed in to a tree at 100 miles per hour half way down mercury, killing all 4 boys, jerry thier and rodney carlson, ring a bell ?, tore the tree up pretty bad about 10 feet up the tree, shot time latter they took the tree down

unbelievable

I remember this accident. I knew the boys. Hard to believe it's been that long ago, but same thing goes here.....poor decision making on the driver's part. Just asking because I don't know the real reason, but did they take the tree down because it was damaged or was it taken down simply because it was a reminder of the accident?

michiglen

Oh man, I just saw the Tribune poll about Mercury Drive.

Is Mercury Drive dangerous?? (my interpretation).

What a loaded "opinion poll"!!

Someone is on the take.

Five selections available.

Three say "Yes" it is dangerous but with reservation.

One is "No" it is fine.

One is "Uncertain".

So.

The current poll at 11pm Monday is as follows;

Yes, it needs some fixes
14% (11 votes)
Yes, because of bad drivers
13% (10 votes)
Yes, but no more than most roads
13% (10 votes)
No, it's fine
59% (47 votes)
Uncertain
1% (1 vote)

OK.

50% say YES it dangerous.

59% say NO it is OK.

1% are undecided.

Hmmmmmm. 110%.

Way to bring a knife to a gun fight.

michiglen

Oooops, my math bad...

OK...

40% say YES

59% say NO

1% "Uncertain"

The poll question/answer table is still "loaded" though! (3 yes/1 no/1 uncertain)

Just be careful whatever you drive.... even when it is a keyboard!!

stopblockingmya...

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks.

Vast Right Wing...

I live off Mercury and I can tell you the problem is the speeders. I've been passed by people using the turn lanes when I'm going the speed limit, some of them making me seem like I'm standing still.

OCSD needs to work that road hard and slow people down.

Thinkaboutit

I agree with the one of the first comments, stupid is as stupid does. Drink, drugs and distractions do not mix while behind the wheel. Grow up people, nothing will change that fact.

PeopleAreAmazing

I really can't believe that the editorial board actually believes what they've written here - it has to be that they've written this in an effort to "gin" up some attention. These views, when expressing them based upon the evidence from the last two crashes, are ridiculous.

Peter56

It would appear from peoples opinions nothing needs to be done. GH Trib seems to attempt to foment controversy in order to be noticed. This has aso been known as Drama. Maybe the thing that needs to be done is to rename the GH Tribune the Grand Have Drama Queen.

Cubbie

I am still trying to wrap my head around "sudden subtle elevation changes".

Every road has accidents. However, it appears the two recent incidents were probably the result of poor decisions on the parts of the drivers. Making changes to this road will never eliminate the human factor, which includes occasional lapses in judgement. These mistakes can happen to the best of us. Unfortunately, some lapses result in tragic auto accidents, while others simply result in bad newspaper editorials.

truthhurts

"sudden subtle elevation changes" thats an oxymoron, wonder if the tribune knows what that is

unbelievable

I lived on Lake Ave off Mercury Drive for many years. Not once did I get into an accident or even come close. I don't drive like an idiot. I don't drink and drive. I don't drive with the gas pedal against the floorboard. There is nothing wrong with Mercury Drive. It is a very safe, well maintained road. If you are so ignorant to think that roads cause accidents, then maybe you ought to just stay home and order pizza tonight. We don't want you on the roads.

gordbzz231

2 bad accidents, now something needs to be done, its always the case, lets find a way to slow these drivers down, everyone knows the answer, the school on lakeshore is always patrolled, they let them know they are being watched and ticked in some cases,

 

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