Extra Patrols On Saginaw Highway

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Locals have another name for Saginaw Highway.

"Back in the day, the community used to call it death alley," said Tim Beachnau who grew up in Delta Township.

During holiday season, the stretch between Nixon and Waverly Roads gets even worse.

"I wouldn't come anywhere near this place during Black Friday, so I hope they increase patrols at that time," Linda Beachnau said after Thanksgiving shopping at Horrocks.

The Eaton County Sheriff's Delta Patrol is doing just that. It's called the Saginaw Highway Traffic Safety Initiative, and it began Monday.

"Since Saginaw Highway accounts for roughly 47 percent of our traffic crashes in Delta Township, we felt this was a good place to focus on," Lt. Jeff Campbell of the Eaton County Sheriff's Office said.

They chose to first monitor the Lansing Mall area near Elmwood for common traffic violations that cause crashes - so far, 17 this year just at that intersection. Up to five deputies will be stationed along a different stretch every day, like the area of Canal and Saginaw, the intersection with the most crashes.

"Stuff like following too closely, speeding, using the center turn lane as a merge lane when you're trying to exit from a private driveway," Lt. Campbell said.

He said that move is completely illegal, and recommends finding a traffic light instead.

"We always tell people, make a right turn, and find another way around," Lt. Campbell said. "A lot of times it's quicker and safer."

Many businesses closest to the traffic don't mind the patrols' presence. It might even make those distracted drivers stop in.

"It's good for business," Verizon Wireless Manager Shanear Trice said. "I think it will really work well. It will really make people wake up. They'll think about the safety in mind and make sure they have a head set on."

Head set or not, the holidays are here, and the patrols have one simple goal: "We're just out trying to make sure everybody slows down and pays attention to what's going around them," Lt. Campbell said.

Eaton County Sheriff's Office plans to post the locations every day on their Facebook page. They said they're not trying to hide from anyone.

They hope to keep this up for at least a month and maybe into the new year.

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