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City to submit grant application for new intersection

Development in one area community’s industrial park has city leaders seeking ways to make the drive to work safer for future employees.

On Thursday, Farmington City Council approved a resolution allowing City Administrator Greg Beavers to submit a grant application to the Missouri Department of Transportation Cost-Share Program for the purpose of funding construction of a J-Turn intersection at Perrine Road and U.S. 67.

“With the expansion on the east industrial park near Engler Park, we contracted with Crawford Bunte Brammeier, an engineering company,” Beavers said after the meeting. “They collected the latest MoDOT traffic count data (at that intersection). Then they went down and did their own observation traffic counts.”

Beavers said the study showed the intersection works for the current traffic patterns.

“With the new employment we’re expecting, (the current intersection) will not (work) and it will lead to some crashes … and, in the worst-case, fatalities and some serious injuries,” he said.

The consultant with the engineering firm recommend the J-turn option for the intersection.

“When we met with MoDOT with this (plan) they concurred with that recommendation,” Beavers said. “That’s the best option to make it a safely travel-able intersection.”

An analysis report on J-turns provided by MoDOT explains this type of intersection restricts vehicles on side streets from turning left for crossing the highway. Instead, the report says, vehicles are required to turn right onto the highway, make a U-turn (i.e. J-turn) further downstream and head back in the other direction.

The city administrator admits the J-turn is a “peculiar intersection.”

“If you are leaving out of the industrial park and want to go left … you won’t,” he said. “You’ll have to go right, (travel) 11 to 12 hundred feet down the road or up the road – whichever way you look at it – go to a J-turn intersection and head back the way you were going to go.”

In addition to the Perrine Road location, the crossover at Doubet Road will close as well. An offset service road for emergency personnel use only will be put in place between the north and south lanes.

The first J-turn was installed in the fall of 2007 at Route M at Old Lemay Ferry in Jefferson County. There was another intersection constructed in December of 2012 at Missouri 30 at Upper Byrnes Mill Road in Jefferson County. There have been 19 constructed across the state. If constructed, this one will be the first of its kind in MoDOT District 10.

Beaves said statistics show the intersection eliminates those traffic situations at crossovers leading to accidents.

“The safety performance of (the intersections) is pretty dramatic when you look at the numbers,” he said.

Beavers said traffic comparisons after the installation of J-turns show a 25 percent reduction in total crashes from when the intersection was a crossover. More importantly, the numbers show an 88 percent decrease in fatalities and a 78 percent decrease in serious injury crashes.

“Total crashes are reduced significantly,” he said. “Serious injury accidents are reduced significantly.”

The challenge now is for the city to get into MoDOT’s programming, which works on a five-year state transportation improvement plan.

“Projects they have are set five years out,” he said. “We believe if we wait five years to get this done, it’s going to result in some serious accidents, people getting hurt and possible fatalities. We want to accelerate that.”

Beavers said the city has been in negotiations with MoDOT about making improvements at the location, with the city committing $200,000 of local funds toward the expected $1.2 million project.

“We’re applying for statewide cost share grant program which is a fairly new program,” Beavers said. “We’re applying for basically a million dollars of assistance.”

On Thursday, the Farmington City Council approved a resolution allowing Beavers to apply to MoDOT for grant money for the balance “which we’re hoping gets funded,” he said.

The application is due in October, with the city expecting to find out if the project is approved by January.

“With MoDOT it’s our hope they are going to be able to fast-track that ahead of some development out (at the industrial park),” he said. “And this time next year we can have the intersection completed.”

Beavers acknowledges there may be some skepticism from the public when looking at the design of this particular type of intersection.

“It’s innovative. It’s the best option we have because the other alternative is a full-on intersection,” he said. “Because of existing properties in there, we don’t have a right-of-way … and that’s a $12 million solution” – noting the cost of a full diamond interchange ranges between $10 and $12 million with the right-of-way land purchases.

“We think this is probably the best option to solving that problem. It does require some local commitment, but we have local concerns. So, we’re partnering with MoDOT and hopefully we’ll get this completed.”

The engineering firm of Crawford Bunte Brammeier conducted a study of traffic patterns at the intersection of Perrine Road and U.S. Highway 67 in Farmington. Industrial development in the area will lead to additional traffic in that area, according to a study by the firm. Their recommendation to the city of Farmington is for the construction of a J-turn intersection.

The engineering firm of Crawford Bunte Brammeier conducted a study of traffic patterns at the intersection of Perrine Road and U.S. Highway 67 in Farmington. Industrial development in the area will lead to additional traffic in that area, according to a study by the firm. Their recommendation to the city of Farmington is for the construction of a J-turn intersection.

The city of Farmington is submitting a grant application for the construction of a J-turn intersection at Perrine Road and U.S. Highway 67. City officials are being proactive in working towards the $1.2 million project with an anticipated rise in traffic in the area due to an anticipated increase in traffic in the area with development at the industrial park.

The city of Farmington is submitting a grant application for the construction of a J-turn intersection at Perrine Road and U.S. Highway 67. City officials are being proactive in working towards the $1.2 million project with an anticipated rise in traffic in the area due to an anticipated increase in traffic in the area with development at the industrial park.

Shawnna Robinson is the managing editor of the Farmington Press and can be reached at  573-518-3628 or srobinson@farmingtonpressonline.com

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