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No extreme changes likely at Four Corners

Council will discuss tweaks for highway junction

 


Don’t look for any extreme changes to the Four Corners intersection.

However, Grand Coulee’s council will have an opportunity at its next meeting to make some suggestions to the state Department of Transportation on how it can “tweak” things related to the intersection and perhaps make it safer for motorists.

Councilmember Paul Town-send has been working with the DOT, sorting out ideas, and will ask the council to make firm recommendations on a number of small changes.

Some of the ideas include changing the speed limit between Four Corners to the turn off to the rodeo grounds from 45 mph to 30 mph.

Townsend said last week that the DOT has funding and is willing to place speed indicator digital signs going both directions south of the Four Corners intersection.

He said that one of the suggestions is to eliminate the right hand turn lane going both directions on SR-174, primarily because vehicles in the left lane block the view of traffic coming both directions on SR-155.

Townsend said discussions on a four-way stop or a roundabout are pretty much over, and neither seem to be part of the DOT solution. Speed bumps are not on the front burner either.

All of this is in response to a petition signed by over 1,100 people primarily garnered by local resident Ray Wells who was injured while riding his motorscooter and being hit by an oncoming vehicle.

Since that time, the DOT has changed signage on SR-174, telling motorists to look both ways before pulling out and that traffic flowing right and left does not have to stop. These and other small changes have already cut down on traffic accidents at the intersection.

DOT engineers Terry Berends and David Kieninger, from the Wenatchee office, told the city council at a prior meeting that changes made to the intersection in May, 2011, have cut down accidents where the two highways come together. At that time the DOT put in a left-side stop sign for SR-174, a flashing beacon on a stop-ahead sign westbound, and a look-again sign under the stop sign.

From May 2007 to May 2011, there had been 10 reported accidents at the intersection. From May 2011 to March 2015, only two accidents were reported, a reduction in frequency of about 80 percent.

But last Thursday saw another Four Corners accident. Norma D. Obanion, of Chelan, told police that she saw a break in the traffic and pulled out, and her vehicle was hit by one driven by Dean A. Timmins of Seattle. The impact sent Obanion’s car into a third vehicle, this one driven by Luther W. Beaty of East Wenatchee. All vehicles received damage but there were no injuries, according to the police report.

DOT officials say they hope further tweaking will continue to make the intersection safer for motorists.

Townsend said the DOT is ready to move ahead on the project and is seeking a recommendation from the full council.

“I hope we can put together a firm recommendation for the DOT at our next meeting,” Townsend said.

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