It doesn’t take long for drivers on Beechmont Avenue to pound the steering wheel in frustration.
Traffic tie-ups and fender benders are the norm for this thoroughfare, which carries 43,000 vehicles a day.
The worst part is where Beechmont intersects with Five Mile Road. At 60,000 vehicles a day and 57 crashes last year, the crossroads had the second-highest accident rate in Hamilton County.
Now, with more development expected soon near the intersection, Anderson Township and the Hamilton County Engineer’s Office may try something different to ease the problem.
They are embarking on a $20,000; six-month feasibility study to investigate relieving this traffic headache with a new kind of intersection that they think is quicker, safer and cheaper.
Instead of turning left at the intersection, drivers would stop at a new, left-turn intersection about 300 feet before the main crossroad. On a green light, the driver crosses the oncoming traffic lanes-which are stopped by a red light-and proceeds toward the main intersection.
Traffic signals would be coordinated so the driver gets a green light for the left turn at the main intersection.
This method-termed a continuous flow intersection-lets through traffic and left-turn traffic move through the intersection on the same green light.
In Anderson, the new left turn would run off Five Mile onto Beechmont Avenue.
Drivers say they are eager for relief.
“It’s pretty bad on most afternoons,” says Karen Bocaherz of Eastgate, who works at a car dealership on Beechmont Avenue. “A 10-minute drive sometimes takes me a half-hour to get home.”
The only other continuous-flow intersections are in Maryland, just outside Washington, D.C., and in Long Island, N.Y.
The intersection in Maryland, in Accokeek, opened in 2002 and is an “exceptional success story,” said David Buck, a spokesman for the Maryland State Highway Administration.
Traffic congestion was reduced and safety improved, he said, but the key is to educate the public early about how it works.
Hamilton County may pursue state or federal funding for the project, which could cost from $2 million to $4 million, depending on how much right of way has to be purchased, says Ted Hubbard, the county’s chief deputy engineer.
Clermont County engineers are watching what happens in Anderson.
They may consider building such an intersection at Glen-Este Withamsville Road and Ohio 32 as part of the proposed $1billion Eastern Corridor plan aimed at improving traffic in both counties.
Source: Jennifer Edwards - The Cincinnati Engineer