Ada County Highway District

ACHD's Road Wizard Sunday, February 28, 2016 ACHD's Road Wizard

Cost for construction crane taking lanes on Capitol Boulevard; concerns about left turns from Walnut Street onto Warm Springs Avenue at peak times; reader complaints about access management on Overland Road east of Five Mile Road

The Road Wizard Replies

Dear Road Wizard: The outside two lanes of northbound Capitol Boulevard by The Grove Hotel are blocked by a construction crane. This blockage causes northbound traffic to merge to the right and often blocks the Grove Street and Capitol intersection. Do construction firms have to obtain a permit to use the public right-of-way for crane placement? If a permit is required, is there a cost? It seems that there should be some sort of public inconvenience fee charged when traffic lanes are eliminated from public use. Why is a construction project allowed to use the public streets?

Road Wizard:

Usually there is room for construction equipment off-road. But this is downtown Boise, and there wasn't enough vacant land to park the crane. The crane is there as part of the construction of an underground transportation hub.

A permit is required to set up shop in the right-of-way, and there is a fee. If equipment is on the road for less than three weeks, the charge is $75 per week.

This particular crane will be there longer, so the fee calculation is different. It is based on the value of the bare land along the impacted road. Since this is prime real estate, the fee is about $525 a week.

Dear Road Wizard: Can you put a reader board on Walnut Street northbound at Warm Springs Avenue to emphasize "right turn only" between 4 and 6 p.m.? There is a sign below the stop sign that clearly states "right turn only" but more and more drivers continue to dismiss it. With all of the additional traffic on that route because of the Broadway Bridge construction detour, it is becoming a real problem. Maybe an officer can ticket the drivers.

Road Wizard:

The left-turn restriction has been there for years because it is difficult to make the turn onto busy Warm Springs. It causes traffic delays for Walnut.

ACHD counted motorists during "right turn only" hours on Walnut before and after the bridge construction detours were established. There is about a 10 percent increase in traffic, but only a one percent increase in illegal left-turning drivers. That isn't enough to justify a larger sign. ACHD will instead ask police to do some additional patrols.

Dear Road Wizard: ACHD has made a big mistake in my opinion. Instead of making it a "No Left Turn/Right Turn Only" from the Country Square Shopping Center onto Overland Road, they extended the left-turn lane on Overland at Five Mile Road past the entrance/exit forcing westbound traffic wanting to turn into the shopping center to turn behind AutoZone. To make matters worse, they created a problem for eastbound traffic wanting to access Wells Fargo, etc. during busy times.

Road Wizard:

This is a case of two major roads and too-close-for-comfort driveways. Welcome to the ins and outs (or rather the reduced ins and outs) of access management.

The Country Square driveway developed a bad crash record involving left turns. ACHD extended the left-turn lane curb on Overland east of Five Mile because this was the best way to prevent the driveway left turns. If a sign alone restricted the turn, drivers may ignore it. (See the previous question.) Fortunately, there is still good access to the businesses from the Overland and Five Mile intersection.

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