The addition of something many urban drivers take for granted, a center turn lane, has made some Middletons very happy.
Here’s a happy tale press release from ITD:
The Idaho Transportation Department’s maintenance crews restriped a center turn lane in Middleton recently, the result of the city requesting a change to relieve congestion and improve safety in town, especially near the middle school.
Middleton Mayor Darin Taylor made a point of reaching out to say thanks. Click here to see the photo.
“Thank you for the center-lane striping in downtown Middleton,” Taylor said in an email Feb. 27. “It worked perfectly during peak a.m. and p.m. today … no congestion!”
ITD’s Southwest Idaho Operations Manager, Tom Points, passed along the compliment to the maintenance team, saying “Great job everyone on this project. It is great for ITD to get this type of appreciation from the locals.”
ITD Southest Idaho District Engineering Manager for Development, Amy Schroeder, added “What a great improvement for the city of Middleton. Thanks to all who helped with this project!”
Crews waited until the morning rush and commute were over, then layed out the new design shortly after 9 a.m. Monday (Feb. 24). The modifications were then made – crews milled about an inch off the surface and replaced it with new asphalt – and old lane markings were obliterated that afternoon.
Boise Maintenance also was involved, lending them a patch truck to repair damaged asphalt.
Taylor selected the second of two options, electing to start the center lane west of the intersection of North 1st Avenue East with no modifications to the “bulb outs” at the corner. The option not chosen would have required shaving off about 18 inches from the four concrete bulb outs, and may have required relocating a pair of streetlights and electrical junction boxes.
It was just one part of a larger campaign to decrease congestion in Middleton to help the growing southwest Idaho community maintain a small-town feel. The city and school district also relocated a crosswalk and crossing guard. Restriping the center turn lane for five blocks downtown simplified left turns to the post office, to Hawthorne Park, to businesses and to the middle school.
Mayor Taylor had himself avoided certain areas because of the traffic back-up, but has witnessed a positive change.
“I watched the traffic for many years be stopped on the highway through town. It was so bad, I would go into work early or after school started to avoid the congestion. It is entirely different now with the center turn lane. I was driving through town at 8:02 a.m. after it was striped, and was wondering where all the cars were – I thought school must have been cancelled because cars and buses were not backed up all the way through town!
“The project involved several individuals at ITD to plan, design, stripe and control traffic during the project. Middleton is grateful to everyone at ITD for the prompt help and good work,” Taylor added.