Lane Ranger: Passing drivers create dangerous intersection

Published: Sunday, March 31, 2013 at 5:28 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, March 31, 2013 at 5:28 p.m.

Tom Nelson wrote about a traffic situation that led him to almost make a “fatal mistake” at the intersection of Alachua County Road 232 and Northwest 214th Street.

Nelson said that when turning east onto CR 232 from 214th Street, his tendency is to make sure eastbound traffic is clear. His almost-fatal mistake? He almost pulled into the path of a motorist passing westbound traffic.

“The intersection is in a dip between two hills, the sight distance is limited, and the yellow lines allow passing by the westbound traffic on CR 232 at the intersection at the lowest point of the dip where limited sight distance already makes turning eastbound onto 232 a challenge,” Nelson said in an email.

“It seems to me we ought to rethink allowing passing on 232 at the intersection of NW 214th St. I suggest the lines be changed to disallow passing in this stretch of CR 232 for the reasons mentioned above.”

Brian Singleton, transportation engineering manager for Alachua County Public Works, said that a staff member reviewed the site, which has a speed limit of 55 mph.

Singleton said the sight distance exceeds Florida standards for a speed limit of 65 mph, so a motorist should be able to determine if it is safe to enter in front of a vehicle going 65 mph.

The county also found that the stopping distance for westbound drivers on CR 232 exceeds the requirement for 70 mph, so a driver going 70 mph has enough time to react and stop before colliding with the hazard.

“Therefore the intersection exceeds the current design requirements for a posted 55 mph and is in compliance with Florida roadway standards,” Singleton said.

“I encourage all drivers to look in all lanes, in both all directions, prior to entering any intersection to verify the lanes are clear as required by Florida law.”

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