Editorial: DOT too stubborn on Slocum interchange plans

Published: Wednesday, January 15, 2014 at 04:16 PM.

The Tucker Creek traffic signal is not a problem for residents and never has been. The traffic light allows free movement of traffic safely in all directions.

Instead, DOT wants to make local residents drive out of what is a normal traffic pattern and force them to make left turns and U-turns into speeding traffic along U.S. 70. Not to mention they will have to go out of their way to access their own neighborhoods.

Meanwhile, MacDonald Downs residents would no longer have direct access to U.S. 70 but would have to use a new road that is to be built that links with Tucker Creek.

We contacted DOT and were told the changes to the traffic light and traffic patterns at Tucker Creek and U.S. 70 is for the safety and expediency of drivers traveling on U.S. 70.

However, at least one city commissioner, Danny Walsh, thinks the changes don’t improve safety a bit, telling us any improvement to safety at the intersection of U.S. 70 and Slocum Road with the new interchange would be mitigated by increased dangers at Tucker Creek.

“Instead of front-end collisions, you’re going to have rear-end collisions,” he said.

We’re not completely sold on the need for the flyover interchange anyway, a $20.5 million project to replace the current traffic signal. Granted the intersection has been the site of some bad crashes, but we believe other changes can be done to make the intersection safer. A reduction in speed limit can give drivers more time to react, and warning signs placed before the intersection can tell drivers when the light is about to change. Plus, the only real problems at the intersection occur infrequently, only during rush hours in the mornings and afternoons.

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