Burr/Norway is Mitchell's most dangerous intersection, stats showThe Burr and Norway intersection is the most dangerous in Mitchell, according to crash statistics.
By: Anna Jauhola, The Daily Republic
The Burr and Norway intersection is the most dangerous in Mitchell, according to crash statistics.
Over the last six years, there have been 37 non-injury accidents and 12 injury accidents at the busy corner in the southeastern part of the city.
Other accident-prone intersections over the past six years include Havens and Sanborn (24 non-injury, eight injury accidents), Havens and Rowley (23 non-injury, nine injury) and Burr and Interstate 90 (23 non-injury and six injury, including off- and on-ramp intersections).
The numbers have helped state and local officials determine which streets and intersections to repair and reconfigure.
It’s been decided, for example, that a large portion of Burr Street and the Havens/Rowley intersection need some serious revamping.
“The goal is to provide a roadway where we reduce the number of accidents,” said Scott Jansen, of the Mitchell Area Office of the state Department of Transportation.
Officials are working to scope out a project to reconstruct Burr Street from Havens Avenue to Spruce Street. A portion of the project includes improvements to traffic signals and timing of the signals, Jansen said.
The Burr Street project is scheduled to begin in 2016, is estimated to cost $6.693 million and will be funded through federal and state funds.
The DOT expects the intersection at Rowley Street and Havens Avenue will be reconstructed next summer.
The reconstruction is a part of a larger project set for 2012 that includes the re-pavement of Havens Avenue and some concrete work on Burr Street, Prunty said. The total cost estimate is $4.786 million to be paid by federal and state funds.
The DOT studied the Rowley/Havens intersection over a three-year period to determine whether the number and rate of accidents met federal criteria for reconstruction, Jansen said.
In a 12-month period, the DOT identified at least five accidents that could have been prevented with traffic lights. With that criteria met, the DOT will install traffic lights at the Havens and Rowley intersection, Jansen said.
Additionally, the south end of the Havens/Rowley intersection will be corrected to line up with the north end. Currently, motorists arriving from the south on Rowley must make a right and then a quick left if they wish to continue heading north.
Local officials say that Burr Street, meanwhile, seems to be the most accident-prone stretch of roadway in town.
“I would say Burr Street pretty much tops it,” said Leon Baier, assistant chief of the Mitchell Police Division.
Kay, Norway, Havens and First avenues and Highland Way are among the roads that intersect with Burr Street. Mitchell Police Division statistics showed between 10 and 24 accidents at each one of those intersections over the last six years.
From their years of experience, Baier and Lyndon Overweg, chief of the Mitchell Department of Public Safety, agree that inattentive or distracted drivers and failures to yield are the main causes of local accidents.
Many people do not follow through with a full stop at a stop sign, Baier said. Many simply slow down and roll through. Others will stop but not take the time to make sure the intersection is clear, which is a failure to yield.
Baier said the Burr Street and First Avenue intersection is one of the most difficult for drivers. Burr is a four-lane road from Spruce Street until First Avenue, where Burr transitions to a two-lane. It’s also a busy corner.
“The more traffic that runs through an intersection, the more accidents you’re going to have,” Baier said.
The city doesn’t have any plans to revamp other intersections at this point, said Overweg, who is also the head of the city Traffic Commission.
“Usually a change is brought up on a case-by-case basis,” Baier said. “An individual will request we look at a certain area, and we’ll study the traffic volume and accident rates.”
Baier and Overweg said most accidents happen in the afternoon between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. — just after school lets out and when drivers get off work.
Their advice to drivers: Slow down, take your time and eliminate any distractions while driving.