New signs, lighting and raised medians will be installed on SR-36 to improve motorist safety, specifically in the Lake Point area, Utah Department of Transportation officials say.
Amber Mortensen, UDOT traffic analyst, said up to four speed feedback signs will be installed in Lake Point along SR-36 this spring. The signs automatically radar motorists as they drive by and flash how fast they are traveling.
“We install them in an effort to get people to follow the speed limit,” Mortensen said. “We’re looking at doing four of them. But the specific locations aren’t hammered out, and we don’t have exact mile markers yet. The concept is still in process.”
According to UDOT, traffic counts show 25,840 vehicles traveled daily on SR-36 between Sunset Boulevard and Hardy Road during 2011. In the last five years, this section of SR-36 has had 144 accidents, according to UDOT records. The most recent notable accident occurred Nov. 27, 2012, when two Salt Lake City women were killed in a three-car crash in Lake Point near the Chevron station.
Overhead lighting is another idea UDOT is considering to improve safety on the state highway.
“We did a traffic study there in that area and I know the study came back with lighting as an idea to improve the safety,” Mortensen said. “As far as how many lights or when they’ll be installed, there’s no definite decision on that yet.”
UDOT is also planning to install raised medians to improve access management issues in the Erda area, specifically between mileposts 56 and 62.
“The medians will be the concrete sections in between the different directions of travel,” Mortensen said. “Being that it’s still in the concept stages, we don’t know the method of installment or where they will be located. We wouldn’t want to give a time frame that we can’t guarantee.”
Adan Carillo, UDOT public information officer, said UDOT has two main funds where money is allocated from to pay for safety improvements.
One funding program comes through the state and is called the State Safety Improvement Program. The other program, which is federally funded, is called the Highway Safety Improvement Program.
Carillo said he doesn’t know right now how much money will be allocated to make improvements to SR-36 because many of the ideas are still in the concept and procurement stages.
“We try to take care of issues as resources come available,” Carillo said. “We don’t wait until something happens to decide what needs to be done, but we also have to stretch dollars the best we can.”
Carillo said UDOT is always looking for ways to improve visibility and safety on roads. The most recent traffic study done on SR-36 in Lake Point was conducted about a year ago, but Carillo said he doesn’t know the results of that study. He added if a study indicates a change to a stretch of road would improve safety, the speed at which alterations are done is dependent on the amount of funding available, how difficult or involved the project will be, and where the project ranks on the statewide prioritization.
Before these future installments can go past the concept stage, Carillo said it’s important for UDOT to meet with county officials to go over some of the improvements. Meetings between UDOT and Tooele County are being scheduled in the next three weeks to discuss the concepts and best ways to increase safety in the area.
“It doesn’t make sense to do something like lighting improvements if there’s projects coming up to be done by the county,” Carillo said. “Some things we look at take time so that we don’t duplicate what they do.”