New safety signs at deadly Dyersville intersection - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

New safety signs at deadly Dyersville intersection

The warning signs installed in Dyersville are the first ever in Iowa. The warning signs installed in Dyersville are the first ever in Iowa.

DYERSVILLE (KWWL) -- A Friday afternoon car crash added to a list of fatal accidents at one Dyersville intersection.

For years, the intersection of U.S. Highway 20 and Seventh Street in Dyersville has been labeled one of the most dangerous in the state.

Thursday, the Iowa Department of Transportation installed traffic-activated warning lights to improve the intersection's safety.

"There's quite a bit of traffic on 20. There's quite a bit of traffic on 7th street," Iowa DOT engineer Art Gourley said. "I think sometimes people get in a hurry to get home. Maybe they're not paying as much attention as they should be."

The crash came just one day after the Iowa DOT installed new safety signs.

"This is the first installation in Iowa," Gourley said.

The signs work like this: When a vehicle is 1,000 feet away from the intersection, coming from either direction, it rolls over sensors in the road. Those trip the lights on the signs, warning drivers of oncoming traffic. The signs operate independently of one another, so if there is eastbound traffic but no westbound traffic, only the sign on the eastbound lanes will light up.

Unless another vehicle follows the one that initially tripped the lights, the sign will stop blinking approximately 10 seconds after it crosses the sensors.

A warning sign is posted on both westbound and eastbound lanes, so drivers are covered whether taking a right, crossing traffic to take a left or continuing on Seventh Street.

Gourley said there's more than one way to prevent crashes.

"Don't rely only on the signs and the flashing lights. You have to look, also," Gourley said.

The Iowa State Patrol accident report said 27-year-old Joseph Greenwood of Colesburg died after pulling into the path of another vehicle heading westbound on Highway 20. The driver of that vehicle was 51-year-old Nancy Appleton of Greeley. An ambulance took her to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Friday's crash is still under investigation. The Iowa DOT said while there may be dangerous intersections in the state, it's ultimately up to the driver's judgment to cross at the right time. Signs can only do so much - drivers must pay attention.

Online Reporter Becca Habegger

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