City Council eyes options for unsafe intersection

August 4, 2011

By Emily Baer

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The Newcastle City Council will vote this month on the construction of a median near the intersection of Newcastle Way and Coal Creek Parkway to prevent cars from passing buses as passengers are loading.

City Council members proposed building a median because they were concerned that the current double line, signifying that drivers may not use the oncoming traffic lane to pass, was not enough to deter people from trying anyway. The issue was given to the city’s Public Works Department to review.

“It was their perception that it was unsafe,” Public Works Development Engineer Kerry Sullivan said. “We looked at it under engineer analysis and determined several options that will be presented at the City Council meeting.”

Sullivan described the first option as a C-curb median beginning at the intersection of Newcastle Way and Coal Creek Parkway. The 6-by-12 yellow curb would not obstruct any driveways.

“We don’t want to impact McDonald’s or Chase,” Director of Public Works Mark Rigos said. “The curb may only run a short distance.”

This option would also include a sign reminding drivers that they are prohibited from crossing double yellow lines to pass.

The second option consists only of the aforementioned sign and the final option is to do nothing.

Rigos said increased enforcement of the law is also being considered in combination with the three options Sullivan described.

Installing a C-curb and sign would take only an afternoon and the cost would be negligible, according to Sullivan.

The project’s timeline is uncertain for now. Rigos said he and City Manager Rob Wyman would discuss their options with a traffic consultant before making a recommendation to the City Council. He said a decision is likely to be made in mid to late August.

As for the new traffic light going up at the intersection of Newcastle Way and 129th Avenue Southeast, Rigos said installation would be finished in late September.

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