“Here we go again.” This is a familiar refrain heard from drivers especially during rush hour traffic on the US 60 westbound in the Tempe/Phoenix area to the tune of 580 crashes from 2013-2017. Before changes were implemented, the roadway was configured to split the traffic to go eastbound toward Tucson onto a single ramp lane and westbound to merge onto Interstate 10 to Phoenix. Despite lanes being marked with the direction noted and signage, there were still drivers who were merging late into the proper lanes or finding themselves in the wrong lane and needing to cross lanes of traffic – a nightmare for any driver in the area.
To obtain data on this two-mile stretch of US 60 before crafting solutions, ADOT closed the westbound on-ramp at Mill Avenue for one weekend. In addition, observations about traffic movements from the Traffic Operations Center helped lead to the decision to adjust the freeway lane assignments. On the weekend of July 13-15, 2018, ADOT closed this section of the freeway to make lane adjustments and install new signs. There is a now a two-lane entrance ramp for eastbound traffic and improved striping. Ten new signs were installed that have made the difference in providing better direction to drivers to know which lanes to be traveling in.
Within two months of the traffic changes, there was a 70% reduction in crashes and minimal traffic back-ups eastbound, especially during evening rush hour. With the traffic safety, signage and striping teams working together in one weekend, ADOT didn’t have to schedule more closures to get the safety project done and saved money since the work was done in-house; a $240,000 investment that has generated dividends to drivers every day. Improved reliability, less congestion and a safer transportation route through operations solutions.