Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

June 14, 2022
Let’s look at Parachute Land and Midvalley Highway one more time, please

It says something when we write a headline about a serious accident that reads “Another accident at …” Accidents should not become so commonplace at one location that they become expected.

The Utah Department of Transportation has installed more signs, attached flashing lights to signs, reconfigured lanes, installed islands, but the intersection of Parachute Lane and the Midvalley Highway continues to attract accidents.

It’s a strange intersection. A driver sitting at Parachute Lane looks to the right and sees a wide divided highway with two lanes separated by a large median strip. To the left the lanes are closer and divided by a barrier. They look like two different roads.

During construction drivers sped through the intersection thinking it was a temporary obnoxious S-curve despite efforts to educate them that in the future they would meet a stop sign on this route.

We reported on June 8 about an accident that happened there on May 30 that sent one driver with life-threatening injuries on a helicopter ride to a hospital.

That may have been the first serious accident since the latest improvements at the intersection, but it adds to the toll the intersection has taken since the Midvalley Highway opened just before Halloween in 2021, less than seven months ago.

Searching our archives, we found stories of six accidents at or near the infamous intersection, with one fatality.

One Tooele resident said she refers to Parachute Lane as “Paramedic Lane.” Other readers say they avoid the intersection out of fear.

We still believe, to reword a famous understatement from astronaut James Lovelll after an explosion crippled Apollo 13, “Okay, UDOT, we had a problem here.”

UDOT points out that Sheep Lane and Erda Way both join the Midvalley Highway with nothing more than a stop sign.

But we found no stories about accidents at these intersections in the last seven months. Clearly there is a difference between the intersections.

While a traffic analysis was performed in the design phase, it is possible that the volume of traffic along with the intuitive nature of the design may have been underestimated. We ask UDOT to perform a new traffic study of this intersection and post the results along with the engineering standards for stop light warrants for the public to read.

UDOT may be right, a stop light may not be the best solution, but a solution is needed. Other alternatives to a stop light or stop sign should be explored, even the dreaded roundabout.

How about one of those dangling flashing lights over the center of the intersection?

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