MALONE — Riverbank erosion, missing guardrails and lack of a well-posted speed limit have Mary Scharf worried that someone will die in her front yard at 199 River Road.She recently told the Malone Town Council that three serious accidents and many minor ones have occurred over the seven years she has lived on the property.The most recent was a March 20 crash, which uprooted a medium-sized tree and tipped it over onto her land.Her property is on the west side of the road along the banks of the Salmon River.Once Andrus Street in the Village of Malone turns into River Road, the highway hugs the river's edge tightly along several lengthy stretches.There are upcoming-curve warnings and speed-limit signs on River Road and a few cutaways that anglers might use to drop their lines in.But about 1.5 miles south of the village limit beginning near 281 River Road, the terrain on the east side of the road is steeper, the highway has more curves, and the river-side shoulder narrows.Those are the conditions that worry Scharf, who says drivers go too fast on the close curves and that shadows prevent ice that forms on the road from thawing.Vehicles can easily zip off the roadway and into the water because there are few trees and no guardrails left along the bank to provide a buffer to stop cars and trucks from rolling over into the river.The worst part of the erosion is seen only from the riverbank facing east along the roadway culvert, where there is little soil left to provide stability."The dirt's all gone underneath, and there's nothing to hold them anymore," Scharf said."It's a dangerous section and tremendously well used," she said, referring to that quarter-mile piece of the roadway.Some residents who had enjoyed walking along the river have stopped because they didn't feel safe anymore, she said."It's a great place to live, and it's a shame this is so dangerous."She asked that the town pursue a speed-limit change through the State Department of Transportation.The town can't set speed limits, but Town Council member Louise Taylor made the motion to start the process with the state, and it was seconded by council member Irving Caplan.
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