NEW BERLIN – An infamous section of state Route 8, where sharp curves have earned such colloquial names as “Pancake Knoll” and “Deadman’s Curve,” has grown even more perilous in recent years as traffic in the area has spiked.
Authorities have noticed an increase in the number of motor vehicle accidents and tractor trailer rollovers which have occurred within the 3.4 mile segment of Route 8 outside of the Hamlet South New Berlin and just above its intersection with county Road 32 between the physical addresses of 3200 and 2700. Though the road has always been dangerous, especially to drivers unfamiliar with it, there have been few physical changes made to it and so the increase in accidents can only be attributed the steady increase in traffic. And while some of the traffic increase can be attributed to the growth of the Chobani factory outside of South Edmeston – the destination of a number of the independent haulers who tip their loads on Route 8 – many officials agree that the volume of traffic has increased in general. For instance, of the two major accidents which have occurred on Route 8 this year, the most recent was a large cattle carrier heading through the area which tipped over approximately two months ago.
In the years of 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010, six general motor vehicle accidents occurred per year on the 3.4 mile segment of Route 8 in question. In 2011, seven motor vehicle accidents occurred, while in 2012 another nine took place. So far this year? Another pair of accidents. Between 2012 and 2013, the South New Berlin Fire Department responded to more accidents specifically in that area than on average, reported Chenango County Chief Dispatcher A. Jones.
“There are three areas near the ‘S’ curve where a number of accidents have occurred,” said Jones who also noted that there has been an increase in the number of tractor trailer and related type of vehicle accidents in that area.
“Traffic has increased dramatically so there are going to be more accidents,” said New Berlin Supervisor Ross Iannello. “The increase in traffic has been partly due to Chobani, but it has been increasing over the years anyway.”
Despite receiving very few complaints about Route 8, the New York State Department of Transportation has taken notice of the vast number of accidents which occur outside of South New Berlin and reportedly are making an effort to address the problem.
“Safety of the traveling public is always a top priority for the DOT,” said DOT Region 9 Public Information Officer Dave Hamburg. “We recognize that accidents have increased proportionally to the increase in traffic on State Route 8.”
In an effort to alleviate the current issues with the segment of Route 8 in question, the DOT is conducting a survey to identify needs...