Huntertown’s decision on whether or not to comply with a county standard in an upcoming redesign to Carroll Road east of S.R. 3 could cost residents in the Carroll Oaks subdivision access to the main entrance to their neighborhood. The alternative could mean giving up federal aid for the project.
Two separate federal aid projects planned for both the west and east sides of Carroll Road within Huntertown’s corporate limits include improvements to the road as well as several sections of trail. Town engineer Derek Frederickson presented alternative designs for the intersection of Carroll and Mossy Oak Run during a meeting Feb. 16, highlighting the need for a median that would prevent any left turns at the intersection. Frederickson explained that per the county’s manual of standards, only right turn movements are permitted in and out of intersections within 1,000 feet of a major intersection, and Mossy Oak Run is about 550 feet from Carroll Road’s intersection with S.R. 3.
“There is a design standard that says this intersection probably never should have been allowed in the first place,” Frederickson said. “And secondly, there is an increasing crash history at this intersection that’s been not shared with the town.”
According to Frederickson, about 80% of the crashes that have been reported at the intersection would not have happened if a concrete median had been installed. He noted two similar examples for comparison — the entrance to the Willows off Gump Road, which was recently reconstructed, and the southeast corner of Hathaway Road at S.R. 3, where several parties have expressed interest in future development.
“In those two examples … this 1,000-foot standard was an important topic of discussion, and the enforcement of that standard was taken seriously in those two applications,” he said. “The reason for having it is, by limiting left turn movements, you’re getting to remove a lot of the conflicting turns.”
“Because the project is accepting federal money, following the guidelines — at least following the intent of the guidelines — is really important,” he continued.
Outside of safety issues, several council members raised concerns about the effects the median could have on residents and nearby businesses — namely homeowners in Carroll Oaks and the nearby Walgreens and CVS. Left turns would be prohibited from every direction at the intersection, limiting Carroll Oaks residents’ access to their homes to the entrance to Walgreens and the BP gas station off S.R. 3 or Shearwater Run to the east. Walgreens and CVS would each only be accessible from one direction on Carroll Road.
“This decision’s going to affect a lot of lives, and I understand the accidents — I more so than anybody in the profession I’m in — but I know this is going to promote a lot of U-turns — illegal U-turns,” Huntertown Town Council President Gary Grant, a county sheriff, said. “As soon as they get past that barrier, I’ve seen it time after time after time again. … I think this is something that we’re going to have to think long and hard about here.”
Council member Brandon Seifert questioned whether or not the installation of the median would simply lead to more accidents at the other entrances Carroll Oaks residents would be forced to use, and suggested potentially not accepting federal dollars for the project. He also suggested the median could cause problems for residents on Bear Claw Lane within Carroll Oaks if drivers begin using that road to access Walgreens.
“Residents park on both sides of the street, and if this was done now — say that this was already in place — it would be horrible in regards to people cutting through, especially on a snowy day like happened overnight,” he said. “There’d be people cutting through, and you don’t know, there could be accidents. You could increase the accidents because of this one minor little thing you’re putting in.”
Council member Mike Stamets echoed those concerns.
“We might correct that 80% figure for left turns, but we might be creating another monster at one of these other alternatives,” he said.
Justin Brown, the store manager at the Walgreens, also spoke during the meeting: ““That would obviously be very detrimental to our business … probably about 50% of our business.”
Council members will reconvene to discuss the intersection at their March 1 meeting.