Intersection

The intersection at 19th and Washington streets is where 11-year-old Jaycoby Estrada was killed in August of last year.

Following the death of an 11-year-old Blair boy a year ago, one Blair resident still sees issues with the intersection at 19th and Washington streets.

Dave Nadgwick, who moved to Blair in 2003, said he enjoys walking around town and is no stranger to the intersection.

Aug. 23 marked the one year anniversary of the death of Jaycoby Estrada, who died after being hit by a semi while crossing the intersection on his bicycle.

Nadgwick said he's concerned about how many trucks turn at the lights while pedestrians have the walk sign.

"If trucks are in the turning lane, they continue to turn," he said, noting he has also avoided being hit by a semi truck turning at the light.

Nadgwick said he's concerned about the possibility of another fatality if trucks and other cars don't pay attention to pedestrian traffic.

After several instances, Nadgwick said he contacted police and truck companies alike to report on any unsafe activity.

Blair Police Chief Joe Lager said officers are "well aware" of the intersection and the dangers it could potentially pose.

"With four different highways coming together into one, it's our busiest," he said. "We have officers watching there all the time, the problem is you still have personal accountability for truck drivers and car drivers and pedestrians — they need to be careful there. It's just a bad intersection all around."

Lager said the police department has received complaints about trucks either going through red lights at the intersection or speeding.

"It's almost always associated with trucks," he said. "Even though when they did the traffic count, we found out all the traffic that goes through Blair is about 10% trucks. I know not all the trucks are going through the red light there."

Something Nadgwick said he'd love to see is a possible change in the lights, such as a pedestrian-only walking light, with no chances of eastbound traffic turning until pedestrians have more time to cross.

"I know there are limited resources," he said. "That said, I still think there should be some measures taken to mitigate this problem."

While Lager said he'd love to see changes to the safety of the intersection, there isn't enough personnel to watch it 24/7.

"It's one of those constant battles where we never really gain anything because every day the traffic's there," he said. "It's very frustrating on our end to write a few tickets, and then a week later, it's back to normal. The only way to really get more tickets and try to slow people down more is to have someone sit there the whole time."

Since Estrada's accident, Lager said it's made dealing with the intersection even more difficult.

"When you talk about a small community, when you have a fatality, it sticks in people's minds," he said. "The intersection is always a problem, but that makes it just more of a problem."

Lager said his No. 1 advice to the public is to always watch the surroundings when crossing or turning at the intersection.

"Different times of the day, it's always busier," he said. "That busy intersection, to try to get across from (U.S. Bank) to Taco Bell, it's a bad intersection."

Nadgwick said since the accident, it's important for him to be aware of the intersection and voice his concerns whenever he can.

"It's our responsibility as citizens to say something," he said. "There are always things you can do to prevent an accident."

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