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OUR VIEW: South Burr is a mess that needs fixing

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The mess that is south Burr Street is scheduled to be improved in the coming years.

Thank goodness for that. Without changes, someone’s going to get seriously hurt out there.

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Years of statistics and tons of anecdotal evidence back us up.

The Daily Republic reported Wednesday that the Burr Street corridor will get a major facelift by the end of 2016. The idea is to make the street safer and easier to navigate.

At present, it is neither.

There is no room for pedestrians or bicycles. Some of the corners are crooked and don’t form square angles. There isn’t enough clearance under overpasses.

And, more important, the actual corner of Burr and Norway is an absolute mess and is endangering driver safety. We’ve been harping about this intersection for years, so we’re obviously pleased something finally is going to be done to fix it.

The problem is that Burr Street (actually, Highway 37) is a four-lane street in that area. At the Norway corner, it branches into six lanes — due to two turning lanes — and then crosses busy Norway Avenue as well as a pair of service roads that run much too close to Burr itself.

The result is a maze of odd stop signs, poor visibility and confused drivers. During tourist season, the problem is compounded by out-of-towners.

In 2011, the state Department of Transportation deemed it Mitchell’s most accident-prone intersection. Between 2006 and 2011, there were 12 injury accidents and 37 non-injury accidents there.

That’s no surprise to us. Anyone who lives near that neighborhood knows that numerous near-misses at that site that go unreported. And we know there was a mishap at that corner earlier this month, too.

Improvements along Burr Street are a long time coming. Traffic continues to increase there as Mitchell Technical Institute grows and as the south-side business district expands.

The area was poorly planned, and we’re pleased something finally is being done to fix it.

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