Guide rails installed on Route 924

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(WBRE/WYOU) — Guide rails are in place on a dangerous stretch of highway in Luzerne County.

Route 924 near Hazleton has been the scene of countless crashes in recent years, many of them deadly. If you talk to people who drive on that stretch of Route 924, they will tell you it’s not for the faint of heart.

“I think if there were some type of barriers or device along that stretch of highway to try to control the rollovers and those that slide out of control. It would greatly help and provide safety for other vehicles traveling in the opposite direction,” Hazle Township Fire Department Chief Scott Kostician.

That was Kostician in February 2016 after a deadly crash on Route 924 near Hazleton. A woman was killed when her car crossed the median of 924 and rolled over. The barrier he had lobbied for is now in place.

Wednesday, workers were putting the finishing touches on the project. This work started about a month ago and the guide rail posts were being driven into the ground. This stretch of highway is located between Route 81 and Humboldt Industrial Park and the city of Hazleton. Tens of thousands of vehicles travel on this highway each and every day. Before installing any safety measures, PennDOT studied the area.

“They’ll go back and look at the number of crashes and anywhere we see there’s a high number of crashes that can be resolved by putting in some of these new barriers we’ll do that type of thing, the guide rails,” PennDOT spokesman James May said.

And other factors that are also taken into account.

“They’ll look at an area where traffic is coming in at an angle not a 90-degree angle but at a slight angle and by having the guide rail up there, it will prevent them from going into the other lane and hitting traffic going in the other direction,” May said.

These guide rails are a welcome sight for people who have seen the tragedies on Route 924.

“I think it will be a lot safer for people. It’s a fast-paced area. There are a lot of crashes and accidents,” David Slater of York said.

“It’s definitely a great idea. It will save a lot of lives. I think a lot of accidents will not be there anymore because guide rails will save a lot of people,” Amanda Macek of York said.

Theresa Keil of Wilkes-Barre works in the Humboldt Industrial Park. She says her head is on a swivel when she’s driving on Route 924.

“I think anything they can do because there are a lot of accidents on 924 is good. But I think they really have to get rid of some of the congestion,” Keil said.

PennDOT and the state police also point out that speeding has been a major factor in not only some of the deadly crashes but others that left drivers badly injured.

In conjunction with the new guide rails, state police have stepped up their efforts to stop speeding in that area.

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