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Let’s be proactive, and stop fatalities before they happen!

October 26, 2011

By ELLEN MORTENSEN
Chief Editor

At the newspaper we try very hard to be proactive rather than reactive. It isn’t always easy to do, especially in the world of news and journalism, but it is a goal we try to achieve nonetheless.
I have a strong family history of cancer. Therefore, I work hard to be proactive with my health rather than reactive. I have my regular check-ups, no matter how unpleasant they may be, and I watch closely for signs that something may not be quite right.
As parents, being proactive becomes a way of life. We do what we can do to remove objects or situations that may be harmful to our children before something bad happens, rather than waiting for it to happen. When they are learning to walk we move furniture out of their way, and when they become mobile we put anything that could hurt them out of their reach.
As a society we try to establish rules and guidelines to keep the public safe in the event something should happen, rather than waiting for it to happen. We have teams who plan for emergency preparedness, and monthly tests of the emergency broadcast system. We all know the drill, “If this had been an actual emergency, . . .”
We have a situation near Broken Bow that I believe requires us to be proactive rather than reactive, and lives may be at stake.
Unless you have been living under a rock for awhile, you are no doubt aware of all the building and expansion being done on the west edge of Broken Bow along Highway 2. Recent additions to that area include Pamida, AgLand ATV, the new DHHS building, Custer Campus, and soon the completion of the Lomax Professional Building and a new Trotter’s truck stop.
All of this added growth means added traffic - slow-moving, turning traffic. Yet the speed limit coming into town has not changed, nor are there any immediate plans for it to change. As you come around the curve, approaching the truck stop, the speed limit remains 65 mph. And there is no turn lane. Can you say accident waiting to happen?
It is my understanding that some citizens have expressed concerns about the imminent danger of the high speed area. It is also my understanding that none of the entities with the authority to make any changes seem willing to accept the responsibility for doing so. Therefore, I am taking advantage of my allotted space in this paper to rally the troops - you - to take a stand and let your voices be heard.
Those of us who have lived in Broken Bow - or anywhere close by - for very long, are all too aware of the dangers at the intersection of Highway 2 and the Callaway Road. There have been more accidents than I can count at that intersection for years, and just recently one of those accidents resulted in a fatality. When is enough enough!
I suggest putting flashing red lights at the top of the stop signs at that intersection, coming both from the east and from the west. Yes, the intersection is already marked with large look-again stop signs, but that extra attention getter just might be enough to save a few injuries, or perhaps lives.
I also believe that by the time vehicles hit the curve coming into Broken Bow from the west, the speed limit should begin dropping. And I think this should be in place before the truck stop opens - proactive, not reactive.
Since I have been with the Chief, I have had to cover numerous traffic accidents, one in particular that has continued to haunt me. It is not fun. Anything we can do to keep our public safer deserves our immediate attention.
I urge you to write or call your city council members and county supervisors, demanding something be done sooner than later. If things stay as they are, I just pray it isn’t one of your loved ones in the next accident on Highway 2.

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