Ada County Highway District

ACHD's Road Wizard Sunday, January 6, 2019 ACHD's Road Wizard

Orange barrels and posts are losing their looks along State Street near Collister Drive; lagging lefts at Horseshoe Bend Road and State Street frustrate driver

The Road Wizard Replies

Dear Road Wizard:With all of the road construction, the orange barrels and posts are getting quite a workout and lots of wear and tear. The State Street work near 36th Street where crazy things are happening requires the orange posts to divide the street for east/west traffic. While driving through after dusk, it was clear that the reflective tape was useless and scraped off or dirty. Add the oncoming car lights and there really was a hazard trying to see the dividing posts. Please re-tape and otherwise renew the barrels and posts.

C. Lojek

Road Wizard:

The "crazy things" at 36th/State/Veterans Memorial Parkway, otherwise known as the new "ThrU-turn" intersection, are wrapped up. However, the work down the street at State and Collister Drive is underway. The odd-angled intersection will be realigned, along with the widening of State, new turn lanes, a transit stop, and pedestrian and bicycle improvements.

Among other traffic-post worthy events, Collister was closed for a couple of days in late December. Those posts do take a beating; nasty weather and road dirt don't help.

The contractor hired for the construction work is responsible for the condition of the traffic control devices. And there are reflectivity standards. The contractor went out and cleaned off the reflective bands on the posts and markers, and replaced what was beyond benefitting from a good scrub.

Dear Road Wizard: I'm inquiring about a possible reset on the traffic light at the old Horseshoe Bend Road and State Street. When traveling south from Winco, toward the "Lakeland Access" across State, if you don't get to the light soon enough, the through-traffic light stays red, and the left-turn-arrow lanes turn green. One has to wait an entire other cycle for the light to finally turn green to proceed, which is beyond frustrating. There is no reason the through-traffic light can't be green when the left-turn-arrow lights onto State are green.


Road Wizard:

This intersection is coordinated with other signals on State most of the time, which keeps traffic moving on State, the major route, as efficiently as possible. But that doesn't mean Horseshoe Bend traffic isn't considered as well.

Most drivers traveling north or south on Horseshoe Bend end up turning left onto State, rather than continuing straight through the intersection. The signal timing is set to give left-turning drivers as much time as possible, while also getting traffic moving again on State as quickly as possible.

That is done by setting the signal to provide "lagging lefts" for Horseshoe Bend traffic, which means that the left turns run after the through movements. Drivers may notice something similar at other intersections as well. When there are no through vehicles or pedestrians present, and left-turning vehicles are waiting, the controller brings up the left-turn green arrows faster. This can give through-traffic drivers those "just missed the light" and "why didn't I get to go first?" frustrating feelings.

Lagging the lefts and running both the north and south left turns simultaneously is currently more efficient than allowing through and left-turning traffic to get green lights at the same time. The benefit is that the left turns can start sooner in the signal cycle if through traffic is minimal, which can also give State drivers a green light earlier than what would occur otherwise.

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