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Road Management & Engineering Journal
Copyright © 1997 by TranSafety, Inc.
March 1, 1997
TranSafety, Inc.
(360) 683-6276
Fax: (360) 335-6402

Addressing Human Factors and Injury Accidents Through the Safety Management System
Winter Maintenance Technology Practices -- Learning from Abroad
Township Must Erect and Maintain Stop Signs Where Township Road Intersects State Road
Inventorying Highway Signs
Call Boxes in Freeway Medians?

Township Must Erect and Maintain Stop Signs Where Township Road Intersects State Road

Injured in a collision between her car and another vehicle at the intersection of an Ohio state highway and a township road, Marjorie Richardson and her passengers sued Warren County, Clearcreek Township, and the driver of the other vehicle. When the Court of Common Pleas, Warren County, granted summary judgment for the township, plaintiffs appealed. The Court of Appeals of Ohio reversed and remanded.

Richardson was driving on State Route 48 at its intersection with Center Spring Road. James Mason's car came into the intersection off Center Spring Road and hit Richardson's vehicle, injuring Richardson and her two passengers. A stop sign normally confronted traffic on Center Spring Road, a township roadway; however, the stop sign had been missing for seven days before the collision. Although the trial court assumed that Clearcreek had prior notice of the missing stop sign, they granted summary judgment to the township on the basis that Clearcreek had no duty to install or maintain a stop sign where its roadway intersected a state highway.

The appellate court traced duty through Revised Code 4511.65 and concluded that Clearcreek did have responsibility to maintain stop signs where township roadways intersect state highways. The court quoted the following sections of the Revised Code:

(A) All state routes are hereby designated as through highways, provided that stop signs, yield signs, or traffic control signals shall be erected at all intersections with such through highways by the department of transportation as to highways under its jurisdiction and by local authorities as to highways under their jurisdiction, except as otherwise provided in this section (R.C. 4511.65).

Local authorities in their respective jurisdictions shall place and maintain traffic control devices in accordance with the department of transportation manual and specifications for a uniform system of traffic control devices, adopted under section 4511.09 of the Revised Code, upon highways under their jurisdiction as are necessary to indicate and to carry out sections 4511.01 to 4511.76 (R.C. 4511.11(A).

The public highways of the state shall be divided into three classes: state roads, county roads, and township roads.

(A) State roads include the roads and highways on the state highway system. (B) County roads include all roads which are or may be established as a part of the county system of roads * * *. Such roads shall be maintained by the board of county commissioners. (C) Township roads include all public highways other than state or county roads. The board of township trustees shall maintain all such roads within its township * * * (R.C. 5535.01).

According to the interpretation of the appellate court, the Revised Code assigns duty to erect and maintain traffic control devices at the intersection of state highways and township roads to local authority--in this case, Clearcreek Township. Therefore, the township did not have immunity from responsibility to maintain a stop sign at the intersection of State Route 48, a through highway, as it crossed a township road, Center Spring Road. The appellate court reversed the decision of the Court of Common Pleas and remanded the case for proceedings consistent with their opinion.

[Richardson v. Mason, No. CA93-10-080, 93 Ohio App.3d 175, (Ohio App. 12 Dist. 1994) from West Publishing Vol. 638 North Eastern Reporter, 2d Series, 102]

Copyright © 1997 by TranSafety, Inc.

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