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Columbia County panel seeks guardrails near river crash site

February 11, 2019 GMT

A woman’s death after her car fell into the Baraboo River has prompted authorities to pursue construction of guardrails along a risky stretch of road.

Columbia County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Todd Horn suggested during Friday’s Traffic Safety Commission meeting that the group send an advisory letter of construction of safety guardrails to the town of Caledonia’s leadership.

The commission collectively agreed to send a letter of advisory.

Horn said building guardrails along Cascade Mountain Road near the intersection with Fox Glen Road could help prevent other fatal crashes.

“It is a little sharp curve, and it would be well served to put something in there,” Horn said. “The idea would be to have a guardrail or a guard cable or something there.”

Commission member Chuck Miller said he drove through the area after the fatal accident and felt there should be some sort of barrier along the river bank to stop vehicles from falling in.

He said another vehicle had previously fallen into the same stretch of river in a March 2016 accident.

Miller said the the woman who died in January was likely lost in the area.

Horn said the driver apparently did not immediately see the curve in the road and was unable to stop her vehicle in time due to traveling too fast for wintry conditions.

Columbia County Sheriff Roger Brandner also said it was possible the woman had been lost and was likely trying to navigate back to a main highway.

The Traffic Safety Commission also discussed reviewing existing guardrails along a hilly portion of Highway 22 near Cuff Road to determine whether those barriers could be maintained due to soil erosion.

Ryan Mayer, traffic safety engineer for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, said he would conduct a study on whether that stretch of road is safe for travel.