June 27th, 2012

INTERSECTION UPDATE

Uncategorized, by Catherine Higgins.

New safety features will get the attention of motorists.

An auto-activated warning tells motorists on SR 202 that SR 201 traffic does not stop.

The location where State Routes 201 and 202 meet near Rio Tinto has been the site of two recent fatal car crashes; the last one occurred in January. “Rio Tinto has been so concerned with this intersection that they prohibit all Rio Tinto employees from making through and left turn movements at this intersection,” according to Brandon Weight, Rotational Engineer with UDOT Central Traffic and Safety.  Weight designed the improvements to the intersection, which have now been installed.

After the last fatal crash, concern for the safety of motorists prompted UDOT Region Two Traffic Engineer Robert Miles to look for ways to improve safety at the location. He assigned to engineer Alex Fisher, an intern at UDOT, to research some options and propose changes.

The speed disparity on the two routes provided the challenge. SR 201 traffic tends to be fast and motorists have a long stretch of highway with few stops required between Tooele and Salt Lake. SR 202 is slower, and motorists entering SR 201 may not realize that oncoming traffic is traveling fast. Conversely, motorists traveling on SR 201 might not anticipate slower moving traffic entering the roadway.

Since the intersection does not meet all the criteria for a signalized intersection, Fisher proposed an auto-activated warning and stop signs. Read about her proposal in a previous blog post.

Weight found the designing the improvements very satisfying. He worked under the direction of UDOT Traffic and Safety Engineer Larry Montoya.

Design challenges

According to Weight, the most challenging part of the design was placing the radar detection and signs in a location that allows adequate stopping sight distance for semis. Other challenges included designing the raised island to allow adequate site distance for vehicles stopping on SR 202 and the minimum turning path for semis entering the refinery.

Very few changes to the design needed to be made during construction. “Once construction started, the conduit placement and wire call-outs needed to be adjusted,” according to Weight. “All changes were adjusted in the final as-built drawings.”

The procurement contractor was Cash Valley Electric under the direction of Eric Ward. The contractor provided a high quality finished product. The system was turned-on by David Mount of Region Two on Monday, June 18, 2012, “Rio Tinto has told me they are happy with our efforts to improve the safety at this intersection,” says Weight. UDOT will monitor the improvements to make sure the improvements function as intended by design.

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