The intersection is controlled by a flashing red and flashing yellow light. A roundabout - a modern version of the traffic circle - would eliminate the traffic signal, which was toppled in the accident.
John Tieman, who was issued a license to drive the school bus a few weeks earlier, told investigators that he did not see the truck even after he had "inched forward" into the intersection to look. The accident occurred as he was taking the children to their elementary school that morning.
The roundabout will contain yield signs at each of the four approaches to slow the traffic.
"This project was undertaken after it was determined that a roundabout would provide significant safety and operational improvements to the intersection," said Eric Arpert, county spokesman, in an e-mail.
In earlier published reports, officials said the roundabout was planned before the fatal crash to accommodate increased traffic that was expected as a result of a proposed housing project on nearby farmland. More than 1,200 homes were planned for that area. Though the housing downturn stalled one project off Old York Road, about 75 percent of the units have since been built, township officials said.
"Compared to other types of intersections, roundabouts have been shown to reduce the total number of injury crashes by 76 percent and the total number of fatal crashes by more than 90 percent," the county engineer's office said in a release issued with a diagram of the planned roundabout. The engineer's office also said it concluded that "neither the traffic volumes nor the crash data justify the installation of a traffic signal" at that intersection, and said the cost of a signal and a roundabout were comparable.
The National Transportation Safety Board, which investigated the fatal crash, noted there were visibility problems at the intersection, but found these did not play a significant role in the accident. Instead, the board concluded the bus driver's fatigue, his use of sedating prescription drugs, and also the excessively heavy load of the truck had all contributed to the accident.
"I look left, did not see anything. I looked right, did not see anything. . . . It looked like I almost made it," Tieman had said in an interview with the safety board.
Anthony and Susan Tezsla, the triplet's parents, and three other families whose children were injured have sued Tieman and truck driver Michael Caporale, their companies, Garden State Transport Inc. and Herman's Trucking Inc., respectively, various affiliated companies and the manufacturers of the truck's parts and equipment, the state of New Jersey, the state Turnpike Authority, Burlington County, the Burlington County Highway Department, Chesterfield Township and school district, and other entities, including John Does, who may be named as the case evolves.
The other parents who sued are Halina and Kristopher Zdybel, John and Martina Oleinik, and Diana Arronenzi, all of Chesterfield.
The lawsuits seek unspecified damages for pain and suffering, emotional distress, punitive damages, and other claims.
The Tezsla lawsuit says that the Mack truck, whose gross weight was nearly 85,000 pounds, was about 5,000 pounds overweight and that this hampered the ability of the truck to stop. The suit says the turnpike authority, which is widening the highway between Exits 6 and 8, should have better monitored the weight and safety of the truck. It also alleges that the county, which owns the roads, had responsibility for ensuring the safety of the intersection, which the suit says has been the site of "multiple accidents."
State and county spokespersons said they do not comment on pending lawsuits. The lawyers for the other plaintiffs could not be reached.
Dion G. Rassias, a Cherry Hill lawyer with the Beasley firm who represents the Tezsla family, says he expects the case may go to trial next year. The lawyers are going through the gathering of facts from the parties involved.
"This is obviously a very significant case," Rassias said. "On this two-year anniversary, the family is doing the best it can to cope with what is obviously a lifelong tragedy and its aftermath."