Another study planned near Pembroke Cemetery | Local News


PEMBROKE – There will be another traffic survey on State Route 77 and Indian Falls Road, the intersection near the entrance to the National Cemetery in Western New York, where two veterans were killed in an accident in September.

“As the graveyard develops additional phases. the VA (Department of Veterans Affairs) will work with the DOT (state Department of Transportation) to initiate a new traffic study now that the cemetery is open and operational,” National Cemetery Administration Chief, Affairs and public awareness, Les’ Melnyk.

“We have (the VA) seen the reports. I know we’ve seen the media reports. Members of Congress raised these concerns with the VA,” he said of traffic safety issues at the intersection of Route 77 and Indian Falls Road. “I am not ready at this time to give a timeline as to when this traffic study will be completed.”

Melnyk noted there have been three past traffic studies — by the VA in 2015 and 2016 and by the Department of Transportation in 2020.

In a statement Tuesday, DOT Director of Communications Joe Morrissey said safety is DOT’s No. 1 priority and that he will continue to work with the VA on safety issues related to road and traffic. ‘intersection.

“As part of the VA’s project permit application and associated traffic study, identified signage has been installed along the roadway and intersection,” Morrissey said.

Morrissey said the VA approached the DOT before the new national cemetery opened, raising concerns about speed limits and signage.

“The DOT has participated in a number of meetings with VA personnel and local officials to discuss traffic engineering measures that may be required to mitigate traffic impacts and other additional measures that may be appropriate. beyond permit requirements,” he said. “As a result, NYSDOT initiated a safety study of the intersection and surrounding roads by analyzing speed and signage. Based on NYSDOT’s study, a number of new signs and upgrades to signs were installed by NYSDOT to further improve safety at the intersection.”

As part of the permitting process, Morrissey said the two agencies looked at a number of engineering options that could further improve safety at the intersection above current levels, including a roundabout.

“A roundabout, although an option, was beyond the engineering requirements at the site and would have required a greater investment,” he said. “The VA then submitted a Road Works Permit application for the right turn lane (from Hwy 77 to Indian Falls) only and it was built in accordance with proper engineering practices. The VA subsequently did not seek a permit to install a roundabout.

The fatal crash happened on September 22 as Arnold E. Herdendorf, 69, of Lockport was driving west on Indian Falls Road. He failed to stop at the intersection and his car collided with a tractor-trailer traveling northbound on Route 77. Herdendorf and passenger Christopher M. Rowell, 70, were declared died at the scene.

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