Transportation Secretary Pledges Possible Traffic Light or Other Fixes at Dangerous US 1 Intersection
FlaglerLive | February 10, 2017
The Florida Department of Transportation today did a little repair and cosmetic work at the deadly intersection of U.S. 1 and Old Dixie Highway, scene of more than 200 crashes in the past three years. But more is on the way.
Today’s work does not substantially alter the intersection, where five people were killed in a three-vehicle wreck last Sunday (Feb. 5), bringing the total fatalities to seven at that intersection since May 2015. Nor is the work altering Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly’s request to the state for a permanent traffic light at that intersection, though Staly said today the state may be conducting a traffic-count study in that area soon. But Staly’s letter appears to have led the department to give the intersection a more serious look than it did in December.
Today the transportation department did little more than paint a right-hand arrow and a left-hand arrow at the westbound approach to U.S. 1 from Old Dixie Highway, and redress and repair a one-way sign in the middle of the intersection, at the edge of the median. It added a reflecting sign at the edge of the median, visible from the south approach on U.S. 1.
The painted lanes were among the four recommendations in an engineer’s safety study of the intersection. The study was completed last December and called for additional cosmetic changes, but nothing substantial: refurbishing a stop sign, and replacing an acceleration lane on U.S. 1 northbound, along the White Eagle property, with a grassy shoulder.
Rachel Cone, interim transportation department secretary, on Thursday wrote Staly, in response to his letter, that the department was “taking both immediate and long term action to make this intersection safer.” The secretary referred to today’s work, giving drivers, through the delineators, “physical points of reference to better assess the speeds of northbound traffic.” (No such delineators were visible today on Old Dixie.)
“In addition to these immediate actions,” the secretary wrote, “FDOT will be gathering traffic data and information at the intersection, which we will use to develop design concepts for a long term solution.” The secretary said the option of a traffic light “will be given full consideration as part of our process and will be evaluated along with other concepts including rumble strips, speed limit reductions and a potential roundabout.”
Sheriff’s data indicates that the intersection and its surroundings have been the scene of 207 crashes in the past three years, 148 of them resulting in injuries.
The Flagler County Commission later this month is likely to pass a resolution supporting the sheriff’s request for a traffic light at the intersection, Staly said. The transportation department has jurisdiction over US 1. It’s not clear why the possibilities Cone is referring to in her letter this week were not considered among any of the recommendations in the transportation department’s report in December. Steve Olson, the DOT spokesman for this region, did not return a call on the matter earlier this week, but forwarded the secretary’s letter today.
“We will let this letter, we sent to the Sheriff today, speak for itself,” Olson said.