Devastating crash points up safety concerns at Schoharie intersection

CBS6 spoke with current and former town supervisors and both leaders are offering suggestions for safety improvements at this intersection to ensure an accident of this horrific magnitude never happens again.

"You don't hear about accidents where 20 people die in one accident."

Speaking on the phone, Schoharie Town Supervisor Alan Tavenner says 20 lives were taken in an instant at an intersection that has been a problem for years.

He says the danger is driving downhill on State Route 30, which meets State Route 30A at a T-style stop.

"It's very easy for a driver coming down that road if they don't know this area to have not realized they were coming to the end of a long hill and there's a stop sign at the bottom of it."

The speed limit on Route 30 is 50 miles per hour.

Former Schoharie Town Supervisor and current Assemblyman Chris Tague says it's a challenge even for cars to stop, not to mention for commercial vehicles.

"I've driven down that road a million times and I've come down there just in my car or pick up truck and your brakes stink when they get to the bottom of the hill."

Tavenner says DOT did a project about 10 years ago to try to make the intersection safer.

"There was a lot of local questions when DOT brought that plan to us for how they were going to realign it, and there were concerns that it was going to make the situation worse."

Tavenner says the project has had limited success.

"After the improvements, we had a couple instances of tractor-trailers losing their brakes on that hill and going through the intersection crossing over 30A and into the parking lot of the shop there, the Apple Barrel."

Both Tavenner and Tague say they are strongly encouraging DOT to take another look and make changes -- including possibly another realignment.

"So it's not just coming straight into the highway, maybe they need better signs," Tavenner said.

"We need to make this a top priority so this never happens again," Tague said.

Both officials say this portion of Route 30 does have restricted access for tractor trailers, and there is a warning sign indicating a stop just a few yards before the T intersection.

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