Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Removing risks at deadly crossing

As traffic volume goes, the so-called Timmerman Junction of U.S. Highway 20 and state Highway 75 runs light most of the day but heavy during commuter hours in morning and evening.

No matter. It's still an all-day risk that the Idaho Transportation Department is aiming to make safer with some sort of short-term modification.

The present blinking light is far from adequate when drivers aren't exercising maximum caution as they approach the crossing from any direction at high speeds. Statistics tell the story: In the 10-county area of the ITD's District 4, the Timmerman crossing has jumped from the 25th most accident-prone in the span of just a few years to 11th.

Various interim fixes can be found. Elements of the warnings at the East Fork Road and Highway 75 intersection come to mind—two large yellow signs with blinking lights warning high-speed motorists on Highway 75 to prepare to stop for a light change.

On the face of it, a red-light control system in all directions seems most desirable. Bringing traffic to a full stop on the north-south road while east-west traffic pulls into the intersection, and visa versa, might virtually guarantee an end to accidents.

When a replacement airport for Friedman Memorial is under construction in coming years and then opened, probably south of Timmerman, traffic volume is bound to explode.

This only adds urgency to ITD's modifications at the Timmerman intersection to make travel as safe as possible.

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