The death of a mother and her daughter in a car accident near the Lake Point business district has again raised questions about traffic safety on a stretch of SR-36 regarded as one of the most dangerous roadways in the county.
In just the past four years, the Transcript-Bulletin has reported on three fatalities, a half dozen people seriously injured and dozens more shaken up in fender-benders and pileups in the area.
The problems of the roadway are numerous. Some drivers exit I-80 at high speeds despite signs warning them to slow down. They immediately mix with other drivers moving at slower speeds, plus those entering and exiting the various businesses along the roadway. In addition, there are drivers waiting in the center turning lane to turn in both directions. Exacerbating all this chaos is a high number of semi trucks moving slowly in and out of the area — a problem that often limits visibility for motorists in smaller vehicles.
It’s a deadly mix that hasn’t gone unnoticed by commuters or workers in the area.
As Comfort Inn sales director Aireann Lindsay said, “My office looks right out onto SR-36, and with our location, I look right at the intersection [of SR-36 and Saddleback Boulevard]. Cars run that red light all the time. There’s probably three accidents a week that we witness. We’ve had guests comment and say it just seems like a really dangerous intersection.”
With the continued growth of the Lake Point business district, it’s imperative that a solution be found to the problem sooner rather than later.
This might require the Utah Department of Transportation redesigning the roadway to make it safer. UDOT could also lower speed limits in the area or post more signage to make drivers aware of the changing conditions they will encounter as they exit the interstate. Perhaps another stoplight is also warranted.
The Utah Highway Patrol and the Tooele County Sheriff’s Office could also work together to step up enforcement in the area — particularly against speeders and drivers making illegal turns across the four lanes of traffic.
Whatever the solution, the first step is for everybody to recognize that SR-36 through the Lake Point business district is dangerous. Let’s reduce that danger now, before more lives are lost.