Ada County Highway District

ACHD's Road Wizard Sunday, June 12, 2016 ACHD's Road Wizard

Concern about guard rail coverage on approach to New York Canal Bridge on Cole Road; four-way stop at 2nd and State streets in Eagle cause for complaint, back ups

The Road Wizard Replies

Dear Road Wizard: On Cole Road, just north of Lake Hazel Road, an unusually dangerous condition exists for northbound traffic crossing the New York Canal. There is no barrier to the right of the bridge that would prevent someone from inadvertently driving directly into the canal. As you crest the hill south of the bridge, you are treated to the startling and unobstructed sight of a deep and fast-moving New York Canal just to the right of the bridge. Most bridges that cross irrigation canals, in this area, have either metal or concrete barriers to the right and left of the bridge approach. Why is this one different?

Road Wizard:

A vehicle going into a body of water is on many of our minds after the recent tragedy at Lucky Peak Reservoir.

The bridge on rural Cole north of Lake Hazel has guard rails on the sides of the bridge, but not immediately prior to the bridge. This was the likely standard when the structure was built in 1971. Just to the south, Cole crosses the canal again. That bridge has extended guard rails. It was constructed in 1989, then reconstructed about 10 years ago as a requirement for developers who built homes in the area.

The older bridge would need a similar rebuild in order to have guard rails on the approach. Right now there just isn't enough space; the canal road is right up against the canal and the bridge. Rails would block canal access, and concrete barriers would have to be placed at an unsafe angle for the same reason.

Bridges are expected to last a minimum of 50 years and this one is still in solid shape.  Growth and safety concerns have not justified reconstruction but it could happen if many more homes are built; the Syringa Valley community proposal increases that possibility.

Dear Road Wizard: My hat is off to the decisional person that made 2nd and State streets in Eagle a four-way stop. After four weeks of stop, idle, stop, I tried to turn east onto State from the library and further grasped the design. The four-way stop makes entry impossible unless you pull in front of cross traffic and stage in the turn lane. The design for congestion and creating driving hazards with total disregard for drivers and the public succeeds. Great job!

Road Wizard:

This week's sarcasm award goes to...Anonymous! But this is a great example of the tightrope ACHD often walks when considering city-driven traffic management requests.

ACHD provided Eagle's City Council at the time with the option of a high-quality pedestrian crossing at the intersection, which was previously a two-way stop. Another option was creating a four-way stop by adding stop signs on State. Eagle chose the four-way stop because it helped with pedestrian crossings and made it easier to make left turns. ACHD conceded, but warned that vehicles would back up during peak travel times on State.

Eagle's new mayor, who wasn't part of the original decision, said another factor was that a four-way stop didn't threaten on-street parking.

Eagle's leadership is counting on other projects to rescue 2nd and State. Those include the extension of Plaza Drive planned for 2017, which is expected to divert traffic from 2nd and State. Meanwhile, I'd send any additional comments about the stop signs, sarcastic or otherwise, to Eagle City Hall.

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