LANE RANGER

Officials to examine ‘unique’ traffic spot in Alachua


Published: Sunday, November 24, 2013 at 9:02 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, November 24, 2013 at 9:02 p.m.

A “unique” traffic situation at U.S. 441 and Northwest 173rd Street in Alachua that Rob MacNeille recently wrote about will be studied by the Florida Department of Transportation and the city.

A motorcyclist was killed there a few weeks ago. Lots of westbound semis turn left on 173rd to get to the Walmart and Dollar General distribution centers. Westbound traffic travels up a long hill. Eastbound traffic slows from 65 to 45 as they reach the crest of the hill from the other side.

“The left turn lane is green, no arrows or reds during the entire cycle. You cannot see who is wanting to turn left across traffic as you enter the intersection to go straight westbound. The semis are blocking your view,” MacNeille said. “You can’t slow down, because the traffic behind you is so excited about the 65 just ahead. You cringe as you pass the semis, hoping for the best ... I’m VERY surprised the left turns are not controlled by arrows and red lights during green, mostly because it’s a four-lane highway with a wide median, but more so because of the constant semi traffic in that turn lane.”

Gina Busscher, district spokeswoman for FDOT, said staff took a look at the intersection and will do a study on it.

“FDOT Traffic Operations looked at the intersection along with the city of Alachua and it was decided to submit it to our consultant to study the left turn movements to see if there is another alternative that is appropriate for the type of traffic and movements being made at the intersection,” Busscher wrote in an email.

Meanwhile, Kim Kendall wrote about confusing lane markings for northbound traffic on Southwest 34th Street and Second Avenue. Approaching Second, markings and signage said the right lane is for right turns only. The lane continues north of Second and is right-turn-only onto West University Avenue.

“Must cars that enter this right lane before SW 2nd Avenue ... turn right at SW 2nd Avenue or can they continue north through that intersection and turn right into the Publix or turn right onto University Avenue?” Kendall said.

The answer came from FDOT’s Tony Falotico.

“Any vehicle entering the right turn lane prior to SW 2nd Avenue MUST turn right at SW 2nd Avenue,” Falotico said in an email. “It is illegal to go straight through the intersection from the right turn lane. Those wishing to turn right onto University Avenue must go through the SW 2nd Avenue intersection and THEN enter the right turn lane approaching University Avenue.”

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