No Easy Solution To Traffic Problem
Todd Pittenger - Fri 09:56 PM 05/18/2012
A group of concerned citizens attended a public forum Friday night to discuss a South Salina construction zone that has become a traffic problem.
Motorists disobeying a detour on East Magnolia in a construction zone are causing traffic problems and safety concerns in a neighborhood.
The area of concern is in a couple of neighborhoods along east Magnolia.
A stretch of Magnolia is currently closed for a construction project, beginning just east of Shalimar Drive. Traffic headed east on Magnolia is being re-routed north on Ohio to Crawford Street, east on Crawford to Markley Road, and then back south on Markley Road to Magnolia.
Numerous motorists are ignoring the detour, and "road closed to thru traffic" signs. From the west, they are detouring along Sierra, and through a residential neighborhood. They are detouring on River Trail from the east.
Police say this is causing both traffic problems, and safety concerns for the neighborhood.
According to the city, on a normal day about 9,000 vehicles pass along that stretch of Magnolia, while 800 vehicles use Sierra on a normal day. After the project started, the traffic count on Sierra spiked to 3,600 vehicles a day. After police began to aggressively enforce the area, the traffic count dropped to 2,000 vehicles a day.
Earlier this week, police began stopping drivers who ignore the "road closed to thru traffic" signs and instead choose to use Sierra as their detour.
Officers have written numerous tickets in the area. This is a construction zone, so the tickets cost $155.
A couple of other factors further complicate the issue.
The Eagle Crest retirement home, which is in the construction area, right now has only one entrance from Magnolia. A back entrance is currently under construction. Access to the retirement home will soon come via Wayne Street, or other close-by neighborhood streets.
To the south, Saline County has closed Water Well Road for construction, so traffic cannot be rerouted in that direction. The only alternative is Crawford Street, which is a 10 – 15 minute detour.
The initial plan was to close portions of Magnolia in phases. Instead, officials are opting to close the entire stretch of road.
Magnolia from east of River Trail to west of Sierra would be closed. Traffic will be detoured to Crawford Street and Markley Road to get around the construction area. Residents in the area will have access to their neighborhoods, but will have to follow the detours.
Multiple people presented different ideas Friday evening, but city officials believe that the best solution is to close the entire stretch of road.
The project is scheduled to be entirely completed in January.