#artraffic 052018

One of 12 days of the year when if you’re meaning to type mm/dd/yy it looks like you’re typing mm/yyyy. Today lets spend some time in Lamar. I happen to reside in this small city, I grew up here. There are a few areas in and around town that I think should be improved. We are going to start in Clarksville, but you will see why as we go along. Quarry Street begins at AR Hwy 103 over in the Jamestown area (south of the city limits of Clarksville), no doubt if you’re from this area you have been on that road. It winds up a hill passing Big Danger Road and once on top it bridges over I-40 and on down into the city limits of Lamar. Quarry Street passes Lamar schools and winds through the Lamar cemetery. Back at the AR Hwy 103 tie in, what if that was redone? If we travel towards the west on 103 we would find Fisherman Road about 3 tenths of a mile down. What if we started to ease towards Quarry Street from there? Then stopped 103 at the intersection. The next step in my plan is to make the rest of old 103 and Quarry Street all the way into Lamar AR Hwy 359. So from the marina over to Lamar Schools becomes AR Hwy 359. But that doesn’t tie in to the existing AR Hwy 359 alignment. Stick with me. First off, Quarry Street would need to be upgraded to a state highway, that’ll be the first step. Next, the bridge over I-40 would need exit ramps. This would become Exit 62 on I-40. Once Quarry Street, or AR Hwy 359 as it is now known, gets to Elberta Street we have a couple of options. A) we continue AR 359 on Quarry Street through the cemetery, build a bridge over the creek and run the road right into Cabin Creek Avenue, then go a tenth of a mile into US Hwy 64. B) continue on Quarry Street as before, but build the new location to tie into 3rd Street, this road runs right into South Seminary Street which ties directly into AR Hwy 359 on the other side of US Hwy 64. C) Instead of continuing into the cemetery, use the Elberta alignment to run into Cabin Creek Avenue, then over to Seminary Street.

A will be represented by blue, B will be represented by red, and C will be represented by green.

359 options

Personally I think options B and C are the best. C is the best option if you are totally against construction happening near the cemetery. I understand that, I would only propose making the cemetery portion a 2 lane curb and gutter section that’s 23 foot wide. That would be 2 10 foot lanes and since the standard curb and gutter is 1.5 feet, that is where the 23 feet come into play. It is about 17 right now so we’d only be adding 3 foot on each side through there. The fun part about options A and B is building a new bridge or box culvert. So if the Quarry Street turning into AR Hwy 359 never becomes a reality, I’d still like to see option A or B carried out. But, instead of building a brand new bridge or box, how about we find a couple of short historic bridges and place them side by side. This would really make a statement, it would instantly become an icon of the community. That’s just a thought. I’d like to see that done on Cumberland Street as well. I just think it would be really neat to upcycle some older bridges and repurpose them here. I’m referring to old metal truss styled bridges for those who are scratching their heads at me right now. I think if you could find 2 and place them side by side, you could have each bridge carry 1 lane of traffic instead of 2 lanes and you’d eliminate that much more load. These bridges have been carrying 2 lanes for up to 100 years, with a new substructure they could last another lifetime. Now lets move away from the 359 stuff and pivot over to Johnsonville Street. This is the city street that is across from AR Hwy 123. Lets assume that my widening of US Hwy 64 and my AR Hwy 359 became a reality. There is a HUGE vacant lot between the Post Office and Lamar City Hall. Part of it has been sold and there will be some kind of doctor office built there. Down Johnsonville Street is the key to this idea. There needs to be a downtown built here. I’m not talking about all the dumb metal buildings that have been turned into fireworks stands and pawn shops in Lamar, why did someone allow that? No I’m talking about 2 and 3 story buildings that might have a shop or a restaurant (God forbid we ever have a nice place to eat in Lamar) housed in it. Johnsonville Street is the key, it could become a revenue making machine. If you carried those downtown styled buildings down to the City Hall, and across US 64 to either side of AR 123, then you’ve just created a town square. Think of all the revenue possibilities that Lamar is missing out on by not having this. I’m talking about something like this:

historic-downtown

I honestly have no idea where this is, but it represents what I’m talking about. Lamar needs a downtown. Lets make this happen.

Until next week

Advertisements
Standard

#artraffic 051318

AR Highway 7 – Russellville/Dardanelle

It’s too narrow, 5 lanes squeezed into where only 4 should be. This approximately 7 miles of roadway needs to be remedied. From AR Hwy 22 – I-40. Kind of wild that is the exact same tie-ins as the next phase of I-49 in the Fort Smith region. Before, here, the suggestion to make the AR Hwy 7/AR Hwy 22/AR Hwy 27 intersection a full cloverleaf would still apply. From AR Hwy 22 to the Arkansas River bridge is less than 3/4 of a mile. No work would need to take place on the river bridge unless it needed replacement. I suppose a polymer overlay or a hydrodemolition with a latex modified concrete overlay could be in order. Could you imagine if that bridge needed replacement? Where would traffic go? There would have to be a monster temporary bridge constructed, getting a headache. The good news is, for the next approximately 2.55 miles the roadway is plenty wide enough. Basically in Russellville the problem area is from 19th Street to I-40. Once we get up to US Hwy 64 I’d like to see a railroad bridge. From US 64 to Parkway there is a little over 1000 feet. That is plenty of room to have a bridge over the railroad. If we are already suggesting a 7 mile long job through Dardanelle and Russellville why not get this done as well? I believe the way to handle this would to be build the bridge in half widths at one time. While the first half was being built traffic runs down below on the old pavement and once the half was done then traffic is moved up and ran head to head on the new bridge until the other half of the bridge is built. This could be a really good use for some kind of temporary retaining wall while the half width construction was going on. So if that bridge were to be built what would happen to side streets and businesses? First off the new CVS pharmacy place would probably not like this because they have a tie in to Hwy 7. So to remedy that a tie in road would need to be built from North Boston Place over. For those who aren’t familiar you would get on Parkway headed east and turn right, right behind the Yamaha place. That is North Boston Place. It would only be a 300 foot tie in. Make it two lanes wide for traffic. Between Peters Family Living and the Courthouse, West B Street, that becomes a dead end. Which is actually a good thing in my opinion. We don’t need people trying to turn into that across Hwy 7 anyway. North of the railroad, West C Place would also become a dead end. Could we make North Commerce Ave a one way? From US 64 north up to Parkway, Commerce becomes a one way. Before you get to the tracks, C Street heads west. That becomes a one way as well all the way over to El Paso Avenue. That means Denver becomes a one way heading south from C Street (the train depot building) down to US 64. The parking spots on the east side of the road would all have to be redone. B Street maintains as a two lane head to head road, it just would dead end and Hwy 7. I believe that just east of Hwy 7 and just north of the railroad tracks you could have a parking area. With a pedestrian path built over to the new downtown area. So from Parkway up to I-40 the roadway needs to be widened as well. This is the kind of partnering between city and state that I believe could work. There would be a time of craziness during construction and when Commerce and Denver were switched to become one way streets, but this would be beneficial in the long run.

Until next week

Standard

#artraffic 042918

Today lets head back to Clarksville, we have some unfinished business. Clarksville’s traffic can sometimes be as bad as some of the larger towns across the state because there are only certain ways you the driver can take to get to places. There is basically only 2 ways to get from the east side of town to the west side of town: I-40 and U.S. 64. There needs to be change. So, what have we suggested so far? My initial article (artraffic 020418) was about fixing a disjointed intersection (U.S. 64/AR 21/Palmer Rd). I’d like to expand on that for a little bit. Just to the west of that intersection, U.S. 64 climbs a small hill (approximately 15 feet high). Why not cut this down and improve the sight visibility coming into the intersection? If we realigned AR 21, added a 4 way street light,  and cut this hill down that would make this a much safer intersection. North of the highway there has been a lot of change happening. The larger hill that used to come almost to the road is being cut down. I’m sure whoever owns that is using it as fill material somewhere else. That is a good thing for this idea, we wouldn’t have much to cut to make the backslope tie in correctly. In the article artraffic 041518, we realigned and widened U.S. 64 to 5 lanes running the Brick Plant Road-Poplar Street-New Location-Clark Road alignment and Old 64 would become 64B. In that scenario 64B should become 3 lanes all the way through town from the airport on the east side of town until it tied back in with the newly aligned 64 past Troop J HQ, ARDOT Johnson County, and the Exxon station. So I just wanted to clarify those 2 ideas. Today we are going to try to come up with an aggressive traffic management plan like we did for Russellville last week. So if we lived in a world where my ideas have been implemented then both the above ideas happened and we extended Cline Road over I-40 to Interstate Drive. So now we have our east-west thoroughfare running through town, U.S. 64. Within the last couple of years AR Hwy 103, or Rogers Street, has been widened to 5 lanes from the relocated Market Street to Taylor Road (which is just north of I-40). Let’s continue this 5 lane up to Poplar (which is now a 5 lane U.S. 64 mind you). This would allow for the heaviest trafficked area to have the capacity to keep flow moving. So to the east of Wal-Mart, Market Street has been extended to Big Danger Road, until Big Danger Road there is not a way to cross I-40. I feel as though more traffic would utilize this if there was a closer way around. So my solution is to extend Porter Industrial Road across I-40 to Market Street. This bridge doesn’t need on/off ramps to tie into I-40 since we are so close to the Rogers Street exit. So that would just wrap traffic back around to Rogers, we need another way. How about this:

Edgewood St Ext

Extending Edgewood Street would just be a shade over a 1/4 of a mile. It doesn’t have to be a big road, it could be 2 lanes. This would definitely help if it was coupled with a new bridge over I-40. A new entrance should be added to get into the Atwood’s/Dollar General lot.

Here’s another idea:

E Buchanon St Ext

This idea is to extend East Buchanan Street to the east about 3725 feet, that is not quite 3/4 of a mile. Again this can be a two lane road, this would be another thru route from AR 21 to AR 103 (which is College Ave in this part of town). This would take some pressure off of the main arterials in town. Once that took place, Rogers Street (which isn’t a state highway north of 64B) could also be extended to East Buchanan Street, which is only about 1/2 of a mile. Somehow we still need a way to get from the east side of town to the west side of town, on the south side of I-40. This could work:

Clarksville Frontage Road

I heard something about Clarksville wanted to build something in this area (which is from South Park over to Crawford), but they would have to build a bridge the entire length. I don’t know anything about that but this alignment would have the least amount of impact I believe. At close to 6400 feet, this would be the largest project of all the ones we have submitted today. I feel as though this might be the most important one though, this would not only carry traffic from the south side of town across to Wal-Mart (lets be honest everyone goes there) but also people from the Spadra area, the Morrison Bluff area, and perhaps even the Scranton area would utilize this alignment. I’d like to submit this as a 5 year capital improvements package, at least the 4 city street extensions: Edgewood, Buchanan, Rogers, and  the new frontage road. These projects would vastly increase traffic flow and ease congestion around town.

Until next week

Standard

#artraffic 042218

I have been hearing a lot of chatter about the need for another North-South thoroughfare through the city of Russellville. Now if you go onto the city’s website you will find a capital improvements program. This is where you will find all the road improvements the city has planned for an amount of time, this particular one is dated 2017-2021. There are a lot of good ideas in there. Extending roads that travel in and out of Arkansas Tech University is always a good idea. Reconstructing Skyline and Inglewood is also good. The North Phoenix/Reasoner extension is also a good idea. I really like the idea to fix the Aspen and Sparksford intersection, that definitely needs to happen. This will help with connectivity within the city. Something I would like to add is having more connectivity between Knoxville and Fairway. There are a lot of housing developments there now that could use more than just one way in or out. How about extending 9th Street east 940 feet to Fairway and extending Pittsburgh north 1720 feet to Fairway? Let’s talk about all the disjointed intersections along Hwy 7. I’ll start at I-40 and work my way south: Harrell Drive, L Street, J Street, 3rd Street, 5th Street, 6th Street, 8th Street, 13th Street, 18th Street, and 19th Street. That is 10 disjointed intersections, realigning those would improve congestion and safety throughout Russellville. Instead of spending close to 20 million dollars on another road that is out of the public’s normal travelled way, lets fix what we already have. So the idea is to “develop a new arterial corridor on the east side of Russellville to provide an alternative North-South traffic route for this side of town.” The idea is to extend the Weir/AR Hwy 124 alignment south to Fairway, turn east along Fairway to Elmira/AR Hwy 331, turn south on Elmira/AR Hwy 331 to Jimmy Lile, turn southwest along Jimmy Lile until its weird intersection with McHenry Road, then new location until the alignment runs into South Frankfort and landing at AR Hwy 247. We are way overthinking this. Alternative option: extend Knoxville/AR Hwy 7T approximately 2 miles due south to AR Hwy 247. In this plan the city would take over the Bernice section of AR Hwy 7T. From US Hwy 64 south, Knoxville/AR Hwy 7T should be widened to 5 lanes all the way to AR Hwy 247. While we are here, lets build a bridge to get over the railroad that intersects Knoxville/AR Hwy 7T. If we are trying to relieve traffic congestion this will help. While we are on the subject of bridging over the railroad, there are 2 railroad intersections with Arkansas/AR Hwy 7. Bridge over them as well. I have been stopped in Russellville several times waiting on trains to get through. If traffic doesn’t have to stop for trains then congestion won’t be as bad. This also plays into an earlier article about getting rid of all at-grade railroad crossings. So there would be ramifications if we did these 3 bridges: 2nd Street would have to become a dead-end road and no longer tie into Knoxville Ave/AR Hwy 7T, B Street would also become a dead-end and no longer tie into Arkansas Ave/AR Hwy 7 (however, wouldn’t this be a good thing?), and it might be more difficult to get into Cunningham’s but I’m sure we could find a way in and out of there. So if we went in order of my ideas, Parkway would already be 5 lanes and extending north and widening to 5 lanes Knoxville from US Hwy 64 would be easy. Now is where this idea gets goofy. We probably don’t have to be 5 lanes from this point, so lets say we are 3 lanes up to Russell Road. That shouldn’t be to difficult to do. Let’s hang there for a second and go off on a tangent. I think the real reason it feels as though you can’t get anywhere quickly in town is because there are only 3 real crossings of I-40. Arkansas/AR Hwy 7, O Street/Old Hwy 124, and Weir/AR Hwy 124. Only 2 of those (AR Hwy 7 to Dover, AR Hwy 124 to Hector) actually go anywhere. Lets keep that in mind as we continue. As Knoxville heads north, at J Street the road turns into University Drive. University wraps around through a bunch of houses and circles back into a weird intersection with Parker Road and O Street. Sidebar: is it just me or has Russellville reached its quota on weird intersections? ARDOT recently completed a realignment and widening of Hwy 124. Additionally water and sewer service was extended across I-40 as well to those lots that have supposed to been shopping centers, and a super Kroger, and restaurants, and whatever else they’ve been rumored to be. I believe there is also a frontage road rumored that is going to go along I-40 from Weir/AR Hwy 124 to Old Hwy 124. So lets give the people another way across I-40 and build a bridge from University to this frontage road (if it ever gets done). So that kind of takes care of the east side of town, one other idea would be to extend Elmira north over I-40, that would make 5 I-40 crossings and that would tremendously help. Here’s another wild idea: extend AR Hwy 247 west. Something like this:

west-russellville-bypass.png

That is 9 miles. The alignment runs from the AR Hwy 7/AR Hwy 247 intersection to Dow Road on new location, follows Dow Road to International Paper Road to Lock and Dam Road, new location along a power line alignment to Marina Road/AR Hwy 326, follows Marina Road/AR Hwy 326 until it turns left at Jennifer Road and across the Illinois Bayou on a huge bridge structure to AR Hwy 333. The bridge itself would be over a mile and a half long, but when you’re thinking outside the box you can dream big. This would complete a southern loop around the city of Russellville from London to Pottsville. This along with everything else we have suggested would vastly improve the connectivity and safety in and around the city and ease congestion. It should be understood that all of this would require a huge amount of funding and it sounds crazy but this is an aggressive solution to traffic congestion and safety for the city of Russellville.

Until next week

Standard

#artraffic 041518

When we left off of our widening U.S. Hwy 64 idea we had landed at the Pope/Johnson County Line. From this point, it is about 7 and 3/4 miles until we encounter the first issue. This is the first of 2 existing intersections U.S. Hwy 64 has with Interstate 40 in Johnson County. Both interstate bridges, bridge over 64. They are both in the neighborhood of 244-245 feet long. Ample room to put 5 lanes underneath. There would have to be some creative thinking about how the drainage would happen. The columns that support the caps are about 74 feet apart. I’m thinking the roadway would need to be a curb and gutter section under the bridge. That way the elevation will always stay the same, the road would be milled and inlayed when there was an overlay project through here. Not quite a mile up the road to the west, U.S. 64 is already 3 lanes through most of Lamar. This helps immensely, we need only add 2 lanes in this section. This would also give Lamar an excuse to improve its drainage in town, especially if the in town section was curb and gutter with sidewalks. As we get out of Lamar and we are headed into Clarksville is where this idea gets dicey. There is not enough room between the old historical buildings in Clarksville to widen 64 to 5 lanes. However if we think outside the box a little bit we could help Clarksville by realigning the road and adding another east-west principal route. Clarksville desperately needs another way through town. 4 miles west of the first intersection with I-40, U.S. 64 meets AR Hwy 123. We like to refer to this road as “Brick Plant Road”. This is where 64 should be realigned, now I know what you are thinking (especially if you live around this part of the world) but please bear with me. It is about 2.4 miles along this alignment until you reach an intersection with AR Hwy 103. That now becomes U.S. 64, this is Poplar Street and Eureka Road. So from this point what do we do? How about this:

Realigning 64 thru clarksvegasThis is approximately 8000 feet of new location. From Grandview west until the roadway turns in a southerly direction, that would have to be a new bridge. The elevation drops 100 feet from Grandview and crosses Spadra Creek. This structure would be awesome, there is no doubt. It would probably only need to be 4 lanes, since no roads would be tying into it. I don’t see the need to tie to Martin Street or Lucas Circle. You could make the case for Laster Street to be extended. Elm Street should be extended to tie into new 64. Powers Street should also be extended to tie into new 64. Now we are in a familiar place, we have arrived at Crawford Street. Realigned U.S. 64 is now on the Clark Road alignment, which means say goodbye to the roundabouts. I’m going to halt for a second at the Shady Grove Road intersection. That is about 1.7 miles further down the road. Now we really need to think about where we are in the world. We are rapidly headed into I-40 and old U.S. 64. So how do we tie all this in? How about this:

64 Clark realign

Isn’t it handy that Clark and Massengale form a straight line for our new 64? This is how we would navigate the second time 64 intersects I-40 in Johnson County. No, there would not be on/off ramps in place here, that would be too much. Besides old 64, or U.S. 64B as I would nominate it to be known as, has on/off ramps. From this point along the alignment for the next 11 miles there shouldn’t be any realignment or impediments. That 11 miles brings us to the Johnson/Franklin County line. Another 8 miles or so and we are in downtown Ozark. There is not enough room in downtown Ozark to make U.S. 64 5 lanes. The roadway width is only 40 feet, and the old historical buildings make it impossible for expansion. So we have found another obstacle. Now because 64 is only 40 feet wide at its intersection with AR Hwy 219 we can’t realign 64 from that point up the AR Hwy 219 alignment to another intersection with AR Hwy 96. On to the next option, if we backed up about 1.4 miles there is a power line that crosses the road. Here is where we would start the Ozark Bypass, the rest would follow several local road alignments until we tied back into old 64 on the west side of Ozark at Green Hollow Road. This would be the bypass:

Ozark Bypass

This would be a 7 mile bypass with new major intersections with AR 219 & AR 23 as well as a new AR Hwy 96 intersection. This would be a major project. The old 64 alignment through downtown I propose would be U.S. Hwy 64B just as we proposed in Clarksville. From this point it is another 8.5 miles to the Franklin/Crawford county line. This 8.5 miles is very curvy, lots of elevation changes. However, there are no impediments to widening the existing roadway to 5 lanes. When I say no impediments, there would be new right of way to acquire, but we would not have to realign and not have to tear much down. So at the Franklin/Crawford county line a new Mulberry River bridge would have to be constructed. Now that we are in Crawford County once we get to Alma the roadway is already 5 lanes and divided highway between Alma and Van Buren. There would be almost 12 miles to widen from the county line to Alma. There is a short piece through Van Buren that is currently 4 lanes that I think should be widened to 5, but other than that we have made it. Conway to Fort Smith on 64 is close to 130 miles. We would be widening 90% of that I’d say. This would take a very, very long time and this would require a huge amount of funding. I believe this would enhance the River Valley, this would give local traffic an alternative to I-40. This would spawn more connectivity within the region.

Until next week

Standard

#artraffic 040818

Today I would like to expand on an earlier post about widening U.S. highways to 4 lanes with a center turn lane. More specifically I would like to talk about U.S. 64 through the River Valley area. U.S. 64 serves as Main Street for most of these towns and cities along its alignment from the Fort Smith area to the Conway area. Starting in Conway from an intersection with the realigned AR Hwy 25, it is roughly 16.5 miles to an intersection with AR Hwy 9 in Morrilton. This is all mainly 2 lane, widening this to 5 lanes would improve connectivity from Morrilton to Conway. In Morrilton is where this idea becomes tricky. Heading west for the next 1.20 miles brings you to an intersection with AR Hwy 9B (St. Joseph Street), this is all 4 lanes already and adding a 5th would not be terribly difficult, however now we are in the middle of downtown Morrilton. There are old historic buildings here and there is not much room to work with. For the next approximately 1150 feet, the roadway width is only 52 feet, there are various parallel parking areas that would have to be sacrificed and we would have to widen the roadway by 6-10 feet throughout this length. That brings us to an intersection with AR Hwy 95 going north and AR Hwy 113 going south (Division Street). So it is plausible to think that to this point (about 18 miles) that we could get U.S. 64 to 5 lanes. Continuing west for the next half of a mile the roadway closely follows a railroad alignment. The roadway width in this section is only 30 feet, we would basically be doubling the footprint of the roadway. The widening would have to be more on the northern side of the road, so we wouldn’t infringe on that railroad right of way. Once the roadway veers away from the railroad alignment the next 12-13 miles from Cedar Street in Morrilton until you reach an intersection with AR Hwy 105 south (Ave 2 SE) should present little to no problems as far as widening and infringing on anything. In downtown Atkins the roadway width is already 54 feet (including the paved shoulder on the south side of the roadway) from AR Hwy 105 south (Ave 2 SE) to AR Hwy 105 north (Church Street). This only covers about 720 feet. Once again the railroad alignment and U.S. 64 follow each other through Atkins and for another half of a mile west heading out of the downtown area. Although it might be tricky to get 5 lanes here, it is not impossible. From this point, we are close to the old Main Street Market in Atkins, it is only 9.1 miles to get to Tyler Road in Russellville. Why is this important? Because at Tyler Road in Russellville, U.S. 64 is already 5 lanes. This takes us all the way through the city of Pottsville. Now that we are in Russellville that is 40 miles of U.S. 64 that could be widened to 5 lanes and increase the connectivity from Russellville to Conway. The idea proposed in my previous post (#artraffic 031118) would springboard widening U.S. 64 from Russellville west towards London. From the intersection of U.S. 64/AR 326/Parkway, the alignment runs for another 8 miles approximately to the Pope/Johnson County line. The biggest hurdle would be crossing the Illinois Bayou causeway. This section would only need to be widened to 4 lanes, but there would be some major construction taking place here. Widening the causeway would include dumping new rock into the water, just think of all the ecological impacts. That is somewhere just shy of 50 miles of U.S. 64 we have covered in a broad sense. I’m going to stop here, we have covered the majority of 3 counties (Faulkner, Conway, and Pope). Next week we’ll dive into 3 more: Johnson, Franklin, and Crawford. There are hurdles to clear with Johnson County (city of Clarksville) and Franklin County (city of Ozark). I’m confident solutions can be found.

Until next week

Standard

#artraffic 040118

Happy Easter everyone, lets all take a moment and give thanks that Jesus died on the Cross for our sins so that we could experience eternal life. I have been hearing this commercial on the radio the last few weeks about fatalities at railroad crossings. The message is clear, be careful and don’t become a statistic (you could actually say “don’t be a statistic” about a lot of things). So I got to thinking, how many of these “statistics” could I find. I didn’t have to look hard, the US Dept. of Railroad Safety (which is part of the USDOT) publishes statistics. Here is what I found: (these are national statistics)

1981 9,461 728 3,293
1982 7,932 607 2,637
1983 7,305 575 2,623
1984 7,456 649 2,910
1985 7,073 582 2,687
1986 6,513 616 2,458
1987 6,426 624 2,429
1988 6,617 689 2,589
1989 6,526 801 2,868
1990 5,715 698 2,407
1991 5,388 608 2,094
1992 4,910 579 1,975
1993 4,892 626 1,837
1994 4,979 615 1,961
1995 4,633 579 1,894
1996 4,257 488 1,610
1997 3,865 461 1,540
1998 3,508 431 1,303
1999 3,489 402 1,396
2000 3,502 425 1,219
2001 3,237 421 1,157
2002 3,077 357 999
2003 2,977 334 1,035
2004 3,077 372 1,092
2005 3,057 359 1,051
2006 2,936 369 1,070
2007 2,776 339 1,062
2008 2,429 290 992
2009 1,934 249 743
2010 2,051 260 887
2011 2,061 250 1,045
2012 1,985 230 974
2013 2,101 232 975
2014 2,296 262 871
2015 2,078 236 1,046
2016* 2,041 255 843
2017* 2,105 274 807

Going from left to right the columns are: Year-Crashes-Fatalities-Injuries. This has got to stop. That is 36 years of data and totaled there were 156,665 crashes, 16,872 deaths, and 60,379 injuries. The numbers are trending better now than in 1981 but we still average 4,352 crashes, 469 deaths, and 1,677 injuries per year over this timespan. Now the knee jerk reaction here would be to say “separate every road from being an at grade crossing”. While I’m not in disagreement, that is something that would take an enormous amount of work coupled with an enormous amount of funding. Even with that we are still not going to engineer and legislate every dumb decision out of the world, try as you might. But we can eliminate as many of these at grade crossings as humanly possible. Think about this for a minute: do you ever stop at an at grade railroad crossing on the interstate? No you don’t, so we have accomplished this goal one time. So the next goal would be eliminating the at grade crossings on US highways. I can’t think of too many of those right off the top of my head either. We only have 20 US Highways in Arkansas and they are: US 49, US 59, US 61, US 62, US 63, US 64, US 65, US 67, US 70, US 71, US 79, US 82, US 165, US 167, US 270, US 271, US 278, US 371, US 412, & US 425. Some of these highways run concurrently with others and some run concurrently with interstates. Once those are eliminated, the next goal would be to eliminate them on our state highway system. There are a few of those I can think of. The thing that would make sense to me would be to start on the lower numbered roads (AR Hwy 1, AR Hwy 5, AR Hwy 7 etc.) then go up the ladder until we finish. I suspect most of these at grade crossings are going to be on secondary and county roads, but until we eliminate them from the US Hwy grid and the state highway grid we will just have to be careful as drivers.

 

Until next week

Standard