A major intersection in Hernando County called dangerous and deadly, could soon see some big changes. Residents have been pleading for a stop light at US 98 and CR 491 for years. But the state now has other plans.
You only have to stand at the intersection of US 98 and County Road 491 a few seconds before you see big rigs, cars, and trucks flying by.
"We see daily horn honking, near collisions because of the intersection," said Donna Dilling of Des Champs Corner Store.
Donna Dilling has a front row seat to the craziness at the crossing from the corner store she co-owns.
"There's a crest on both sides and you can't see the traffic until you're almost right at the intersection," she said.
Last July, she witnessed a pick-up and dump truck collide. The pick-up burst into flames. Newlyweds JJ and Donna Stevenson were killed instantly. She believes the intersection design is to blame.
"Had there been a red light there, they would not have died like that because they would've had to stay stopped," Dilling said.
That's why Dilling started an online petition, begging FDOT to put a stop light here. It's gotten nearly 20,000 signatures. But the state's decided a light's not warranted. Instead, it's proposing a roundabout..
"A roundabout here doesn't make a lot of sense considering the traffic, the speed," said driver Joe Capporelli.
FDOT says studies show a roundabout at the intersection could actually cut the number of severe crashes by 76 percent and lead to a 90 percent drop in deaths. The roundabout wouldn't be built for at least three years, and it'd cost about $1.4 million.
That's why many in the community remain convinced replacing the current flashing light with a stop light seems like a simpler fix that could save lives now for a lot less money.
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