Prompted by a Hot line on the front page of the Times, the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office wants residents to know that they are adding extra patrols to U.S. 23.
Sheriff Christopher Swanson said he saw the Hot line and wanted to let the Times’ readers know that the sheriff’s office values the readers’ opinions and suggestions.
In response, motorists traveling U.S. 23 could soon notice more sheriff patrol vehicles from Owen Road, which is near the border with Livingston County and Hill Road to the north.
Reviewing the Times stories in 2019, there were six crashes that resulted in a news story on U.S. 23 within the Fenton Township and Fenton City sections, approximately from Thompson Road to the north and just south of Owen Road to the south.
In 2020, the Times published news stories on three crashes in this same stretch of highway. Crash numbers are most likely down due to the pandemic and fewer motorists.
In a February 2018 Times article, “U.S. 23 a ‘Bermuda Triangle’ for bad accidents,” Fenton Fire Chief Bob Cairnduff said, “The area of the Silver Lake Road overpass is a problematic area,” when asked why there are so many crashes through this area.
He said that in just the first two months of 2018, the Fenton Fire Department had received nine calls for accidents on U.S. 23. Five were in Livingston County and four were within Fenton City limits. Fenton firefighters responded to 22 accidents in 2017 on U.S. 23. From fender benders, to jackknifes, to tractors getting stuck in the snow, many accidents take place between Lahring Road and south to Center Road.
In that same February 2018 article, Cairnduff said there are a few factors that add to the danger of the area. “The on ramp from Silver Lake Road to northbound U.S. 23 and the off ramp to Torrey Road from northbound U.S. 23 are so close together that the traffic has to slow or change lanes to allow cars on and off in a short distance,” he said.
This configuration remains the same today.
Another reason is that because it’s an overpass, it typically ices over more quickly than a normal section of the road. The road also curves and motorists have a hill to contend with.
“Typically, the area between Center Road and White Lake Road has seen its fair share of accidents over the years. We have called it the ‘Center Road triangle’ for a long time,” he said.
In years past, police and fire personnel have often referred to that area as the “Bermuda Triangle.”
The hill on northbound U.S. 23 from Center Road always plays a part in accidents because people are going too fast on the expressway.
“Add in slippery road conditions and it creates problems,” he said.
Swanson said with the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office providing contracted coverage for Fenton Township, deputies will adjust their routines to spend more time monitoring the highway. “We’re reading and listening,” he said.