FLUSHING — In an effort to improve traffic safety, the City of Flushing will be replacing a series of retaining walls along eastbound East Main Street.
On Monday, Flushing City Council followed a recommendation from Rowe Engineering to approve the removal of three decorative brick walls on East Main Street between Mill and Boman streets and replace them with guardrails.
Although the walls have provided some protection for pedestrians and homeowners from vehicle crashes, Rowe engineers have pointed out that the barriers themselves pose a hazard to nearby homes.
According to the city, there have been three drunk driving-related accidents along the curve of eastbound East Main Street near Oakbrook Circle since 2017. In all three cases, vehicles have struck the retaining walls on East Main Street and dislodged the concrete blocks— sending debris flying a significant distance.
Most recently, a vehicle driven by a drunk driver collided with the retaining walls on Oct. 5, launching heavy blocks toward residences on the 600 block of East Main Street. As stated by Interim City Manager Clarence Goodlein, the 20 to 25-pound blocks traveled over 50 feet in the air and nearly struck the front porch of a nearby home.
Goodlein said that the barriers simply aren’t effective enough to protect homes and people along the street, especially if drivers collide with the walls at a high rate of speed. He also suggested that the city should install signage on eastbound East Main Street to alert drivers about the curve near Oakbrook Circle.
Flushing Mayor Joseph Karlichek said the city plans to demolish the barriers and install the guardrails as soon as possible. Auto Traffic Maintenance in Flint will perform the guardrail installation at a cost of $14,486.