Drivers ready, set, stop | ParkRecord.com

Drivers ready, set, stop

Patrick Parkinson, Of the Record staff

The Utah Department of Transportation is stepping in to slow down drivers who routinely put the pedal to the metal in western Summit County.

Construction is underway on three sets of traffic signals two are near U.S. 40 and S.R. 248 and one is at the intersection of S.R. 224 and Cutter Lane and Bobsled Boulevard.

"What we’re trying to do is distinguish between what can be done from an engineering standpoint, what can be done from an enforcement standpoint and what can be done from the public being involved with the safety of that roadways," UDOT Director of Traffic and Safety Robert Hull said. "We cannot solve all of the problems from an engineering standpoint."

To slow people down at Quinn’s Junction, stoplights are being installed on S.R. 248 near the U.S. 40 ramps.

Hull insists it will take some getting used to by motorists.

"There are behaviors and such associated with an urbanized roadway that lead to more crashes," Hull said, adding that traffic signals tend to cause more rear-enders. "When we put in a signal, there is a change in what happens in the characteristics & Many times what you see when you install a signal, is the number of crashes goes up but the severity drops down considerably."

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Hull added, "prior to installing a signal, there may be a fewer number of crashes, but they’re more severe."

"It’s free-flowing traffic, so what they need to do is slow the speed of the traffic," UDOT spokeswoman Bethany Eller said.

The signals were approved after a traffic study showed the intersections are "dangerous for motorists to turn onto other roads," Eller said.

The crew should complete the stoplights at Quinn’s Junction by mid-June and work is expected to be finished on S.R. 224 later this summer, she said, adding that the state provided roughly $400,000 for the projects.

"It is to address safety, but it is also to address the volumes trying to get onto the roadway," Hull said.

Most of the accidents that occur on S.R. 224 are minor fender benders that usually only result in property damage, he added.

According to statistics sent by UDOT to Summit County, there were 598 traffic crashes on S.R. 224 in Snyderville between 2002 and 2004.

"Sheer numbers of crashes are a concern," Hull said.

Most of the crashes occurred near Landmark Drive, Silver Springs Drive and The Canyons resort, Summit County Public Works Administrator Kevin Callahan said.