Thursday, May 24, 2018
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Northwood: Turn-lane redesign expected to ease red-light violations

By modifying one corner on a city intersection, Northwood officials hope to significantly decrease the number of red-light violations that occur there.

Officials have planned a continuous right-turn lane from eastbound Wales Road onto southbound Oregon Road, which is one of four roads a red-light camera watches, City Administrator Pat Bacon said.

This way, she said those going south to Owens Community College from I-75, for example, would not have to stop at the intersection if they're in the far right lane, even with a red light. The turning radius will be wider and the pavement will be marked so traffic can turn without stopping and then merge with Oregon Road traffic later down the road.

The $50,000 project will be paid for entirely by red-light camera revenue, Ms. Bacon said. Northwood's general fund receives 25 percent of the camera fines.

The city's red-light cameras monitor eastbound Wales, northbound Oregon, and each side of Woodville Road at Lemoyne Road.

Northwood Police Chief Jerry Herman said almost all of the violations that the eastbound Wales red-light camera catches occur when motorists do not make a complete stop at that intersection before turning right on a red light.

By making it a continuous turn, he said that would curb at least 90 percent of that camera's red-light violations.

"I think it's going to help the flow of traffic," he said. "I'm sure there's going to be a big difference, so it's worth it for us."

In March, about two weeks after the cameras first started clicking pictures of those who speed, run red lights, or turn right on red without stopping first, the city sent out 561 citations to violators from the eastbound Wales camera, the chief said.

In addition, he said there were 314 violations in April, 320 in May, 459 in June, 272 in July, 215 in August, and 192 in September - 166 of which were turning-right-on-red violations.

"It's been dropping each month, but what I noticed is we have had a lot of close calls in September," he said.

"But when we put that [continuous] right turn lane in there, that should almost drop down to less than 50 violations. That's my guess."

But the intersection improvements will have to wait until next year because the city did not receive any bids, probably because it was scheduled to be completed at the end of the year, Ms. Bacon said.

"We though it would help a lot to do it now, but it was just a little too late in the year," she said.

City officials re-bid the project last week, and will open the bids on Dec. 2. The project's new end date is slated for June 1.

After bids are opened for the Wales project, officials will be turning around to bid their Andrus Road project.

Officials are re-paving Andrus from Tracey Road to East Broadway Street, which Ms. Bacon hasn't been repaved in at least 25 years. Though the project costs $348,000, the city will have to pay for half of that. The other half comes from the Ohio Public Works Commission.

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