Last week’s fatal pedestrian accident in the darkened area of Highway 101, just south of the Chetco River bridge, hit close to home for the Pilot family. The driver was one of our own employees, one of many who drive that section of road night after night, often driving their cars with the bright lights on while keeping a watchful eye on the roadside.
If anything good can come of this tragedy, it’s to bring to the forefront an issue that has been ignored for too long: The lack of lighting on that stretch of highway.
In the last three years, at least three pedestrians have been struck and killed by vehicles on Highway 101 between the bridge and the southern outskirts of Harbor. We’re surprised the number of fatalities isn’t higher considering the many close calls reported over the years by many local motorists.
Some of those close calls happened along the highway in Brookings between the Dairy Queen and the bridge. However, the number of near-hits has dropped in recent years since ODOT installed lights on the bridge and the city did likewise along the road leading up to the bridge.
So why has the effort to light up the highway stopped there?
In 2004, it took a concerted effort on the part of several agencies – ODOT, the Port of Brookings-Harbor, the city of Brookings and Coos-Curry Electric Cooperative – to obtain grant money and install the lights on the bridge.
The time has come again for a similar effort, to light the darkened areas of highway in Harbor. And it starts with this editorial.
We urge the aforementioned agencies, the Curry County Commissioners and any other public entities and individuals to address this issue immediately – before any more lives are cut short.