Last updated: September 06. 2013 8:09PM - 49 Views

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[caption width="250" caption=" This motorist had to wait for the intersection to clear before making a left turn from Sandusky Street onto Central Avenue. The city will install new traffic signals at the intersection that will feature left-turn-only arrows. Work will begin in October or November, and is expected to be finished in January. (GAZETTE | Paul Comstock) "][/caption]

PAUL COMSTOCK

Staff Writer

At the intersection of William and Sandusky streets, left-turn-only arrows operate in the traffic signals suspended on arms hanging over the pavement, decreasing the risk of an accident for motorists making left-hand turns.

The intersection of Central Avenue and Sandusky Street, however, is more like a scene from the 1950s. Traffic signals hang from wires and motorists wanting to make a left turn must wait for oncoming traffic to clear the intersection.

That’s about to change.

Using a $253,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Transportation, the city of Delaware will install new signals at the Central-Sandusky intersection to make it a duplicate of the William-Sandusky intersection. That will include turn-only arrows for those waiting in the left-turn lanes.

The current Central-Sandusky intersection has “a lot of traffic with unprotected left turns, which is a cause of accidents,” said city community affairs coordinator Lee Yoakum.

“With this new design,” he said, the signals “will allow for a left-turn arrow … so you’ll have protected left turns, which will cut down on accidents, which statistics show have a greater likelihood to happen here.”

The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission reports the Central-Sandusky interchange had 32 traffic accidents between 2008 and 2010, enough to qualify it for a “intersection(s) with highest crash frequency per jurisdiction” list.

Work at the intersection will start in October or November, and completion is expected in January.

Yoakum said traffic will be maintained during the work, but motorists should expect delays and they may want to use alternative routes.

“There might be a truck parked in a lane for a period of time,” he said.

The existing poles holding the signals, and the concrete surrounding them, will be removed and conduit for some power lines will be installed.

“It won’t be too invasive,” Yoakum said. “It’s not going to be like the streetscape project (of about a decade ago), when we dug up (entire sidewalks).”

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