Ada County Highway District

ACHD's Road Wizard Sunday, April 24, 2016 ACHD's Road Wizard

Revisiting turning restrictions at Country Square Shopping Center onto Overland Road near Five Mile Road; jarring ride at Broadway Bridge detour route at Parkcenter and Beacon

The Road Wizard Replies

Dear Road Wizard: I'm so disappointed in your response to my questions about the no left-hand-turn median curbing exiting the Country Square Shopping Center onto Overland Road near the Five Mile Road intersection. Did you travel it east and west during prime traffic times? Just exactly how many accidents create a bad crash record? Sure there is other access, but the Albertsons parking lot exit onto Five Mile is closer to the intersection and it just has a right-turn-only sign.
Beverly

Road Wizard:

Overland and Five Mile can be a frustrating crossroads for people getting in and out of the many business driveways, and yes, I have been there. I understand the desire for a really, really good reason for a left-turn-restricting curb.

Some median curbs are put in reactively because of a bad crash history. Others are put in proactively because of the likelihood of future crashes. In many cases, the curb goes in as a result of a new business that needs access close to a major intersection.

The curb Beverly first wrote about is on Overland running east from the Five Mile intersection to the AutoZone. I responded in the February 8 column that the curb was extended because the now-restricted driveway had a bad crash history involving left turns.

There have been some accidents over the years at driveways close to the intersection, but the real reason the curb was extended from the original location was because of the redevelopment of the AutoZone section of the shopping area. Overland is a "principal arterial," and driveways close to major intersections are required to be right-in/right-out only. A developer must install a curb to physically restrict left turns on these types of roads.

This is done based on industry-wide consensus that managing access preserves the flow of traffic on major routes, as well as decreases accident risk.

A similar curb would likely be required if there was new business construction along Five Mile near Albertsons. The existing right-turn-only sign accomplishes much of the same thing - except people can easily ignore it.

Dear Road Wizard: I come down Myrtle Street and cross over Broadway Avenue onto Parkcenter Boulevard to circle around to Beacon Street in order to get to my Starbucks every morning. When the Broadway Bridge was first closed and I had to take this detour, I noticed that when I made the sharp turn from Parkcenter onto Beacon, there was a teeth-rattling drop in the roadway. I was almost ready to send a message to you, but before I got around to it, they somehow corrected the problem and smoothed out the road. But recently I came around that curve and boom! I was once again subjected to that jarring drop in the pavement!
Jay

Road Wizard:

Look closely as you round the corner and you will see an asphalt silhouette of a right-turn-lane island that was torn out.

The Idaho Transportation Department wanted to remove the concrete and relocate the pedestrian/traffic signal to make room for large trucks maneuvering the detour route, which uses ACHD roads. ITD has been maintaining the resulting rough patch and continues to monitor it. I made the turn this week and it was pretty smooth.

The island will be replaced once the bridge is completed. Meanwhile, pedestrians get additional crossing time to make up for the missing refuge.

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