Editorial: Interchange plans fail residents

Published: Monday, April 8, 2013 at 02:57 PM.

We understand that the plans are preliminary, and Matthew Potter, DOT’s project development engineer, told us that the plans could very well change before they are presented to the public, possibly at a hearing in June.

We’re not completely sold on the need for the flyover interchange anyway, a project that is estimated to cost taxpayers $20.5 million. Granted the Slocum-U.S. 70 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. We believe the flashing caution turn arrows installed last fall have already helped reduce wrecks in the area.

After all, the intersection itself is not the cause of crashes. Drivers making poor decisions at the intersection have been the cause. The National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration a few years back noted that driver error was the primary cause of 90 percent of major crashes across the country.

So now the state wants to spend $20.5 million in taxpayer money, disrupt normal traffic patterns, change a perfectly good and safe traffic light, and force residents to make U-turns and drive in different directions to access their neighborhoods.

Instead, it should be DOT that heads in a different direction and makes a U-turn with these proposed plans.

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