Social media plea leads to traffic light installation

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By Heather Lusk

Nielsen

Nielsen

Boone County Sheriff Mike Nielsen recently took to social media to express his frustration with INDOT for not installing a traffic light in a post that garnered more than 6,200 likes and was shared by nearly 3,500 people.

“Until you have to do a death notification to a husband at his office, and then to a teenage daughter at school with her friends; one can never imagine the heartache that it brings to everyone involved, including seasoned officers,” the Facebook post stated.

Nielsen was referencing the death of Jacquelin Harp of Lebanon, who died in a three-vehicle crash on US 52 on Aug. 18.

His plea for INDOT to install a traffic light at the intersection of US 52 and State Road 47 was swiftly answered; within 24 hours a temporary light was installed.

As early as Aug. 11 Nielsen mentioned on social media that he was working with INDOT to find a solution to the increased traffic on this section of Boone County. The temporary closure of I-65 for emergency bridge repair has forced northbound drivers to find alternate routes.

“We have turned a US Highway into an Interstate,” Nielsen stated on Facebook.

In a recent press conference, Nielsen said that there have been 12 accidents on that stretch of roadway in the past month.

“Thirty days prior to that detour we had no accidents on US 52 from I-65 to the Clinton County Line, and nine of those accidents were at that intersection,” he said.

After the stoplight installation, Nielsen expressed his support.

“I am pleased with the decision from INDOT officials to install a light at the intersection,” he said in a statement. “Our goal has always been protecting our school children, the citizens and the motorists traveling through Boone County.”

According to the sheriff’s statement, INDOT also planned to install warning signs and rumble strips to forewarn motorists of the light.

While the stoplight is temporary, Nielsen said that he would like a permanent traffic light installed after I-65 is reopened to keep school busses safe and to make it easier for farmers moving their equipment down the highway.

The long term fate of the intersection will be decided after the bridge reopens.

“After the detour is over INDOT will do another traffic count at this intersection to determine if the traffic signal will remain,” said INDOT spokesperson Debbie Calder.

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