Galveston Mayor Joe Jaworski has responded to a GuidryNews.com Forum posting by Ann Rogers of League City regarding a traffic problem on the I-45 feeder road at 61st Street in Galveston.
The southwest corner of the IH 45 feeder road and 61st Street is one of the most heavily travelled intersections within the City of Galveston. Many drivers arriving on or departing from Galveston Island make use of this gateway.
For some time city leaders and staff have been concerned about the frequency of accidents at this site, particularly those that occur when eastbound feeder road drivers disregard the traffic signal and collide with northbound 61st Street vehicular traffic. Early last year, the city took action to reduce traffic accidents at this intersection and improve drivers’ safety.
Using Police Accident Report records, it was determined that during the first six weeks of 2011, four traffic accidents occurred as a result of eastbound traffic’s failure to heed the traffic signal. Since both IH 45 and 61st Street (Spur 342) are Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) roadways, the City of Galveston contacted TxDOT to discuss options to make the intersection safer.
After site visits and several discussions with TxDOT, it was agreed that the center traffic signal head for eastbound traffic would be modified. The city’s Traffic Division made that change on February 17, 2011. Currently, when northbound traffic on 61st Street has the right-of-way, vehicles traveling eastbound in both left lane and center lane of the feeder road have a red light. The traffic in eastbound right lane has a green arrow that allows driver to turn right onto 61st Street during this signal phase. In July of 2011, city staff revisited the intersection’s accident history and verified that the changes had improved the safety for eastbound/northbound traffic.
After receiving an e-mail from Ms. Rogers, staff examined the intersection’s entire 2011 accident history and noted there were three additional eastbound/northbound accidents for the remainder of that year. During the review, staff studied the December 18, 2011, accident report involving Ms. Rogers. In it police indicate that a vehicle ran a red light and the driver was issued a citation. City staff has since discussed their findings and shared information on improvements to the intersection with Ms. Rogers.