Hi 11° | Lo -14°

Letter: Route 120 Can Be Fixed

To the Editor:

The congestion problem on Route 120 is not nearly as bad or as insurmountable as some would have us believe. I’ve driven this route for over 27 years during all times of the day. Even in the worst situation, it adds maybe 5 to 10 minutes to the commute, and the congestion problem is short-lived, often less than an hour. However, two improvements could be made to improve the current and future commute.

There are six stoplights along the route, of which two are the major “choke points” — Centerra Park/LaHaye Drive and Heater Road/Route 120.

At Centerra Park/LaHaye Drive, increase the time for a left-hand turn during peak hours to at least five more seconds. Remove the double yellow line along the left-hand turn island so more cars can queue up without blocking the other lanes (it currently consumes over 50 percent of this available lane.) And add a “right turn on red” sign on LaHaye Drive.

However, the Heater Road/Route 120 intersection is the key to any long-term improvement. To do this, you must eliminate all left-hand turns by eliminating the intersection. Instead, only right-hand turns would be available to allow traffic to access Heater Road. Cars from Heater Road to Route 120 would, depending on their direction, either detour to the Old Etna Road to Route 120, or take a new road from near the Elks Club to LaBombard/Etna Road to the same intersection. This is also how through-traffic between the two branches of Heater Road would connect.

This would cut nearly a minute of time wasted waiting for the stoplight to go through its cycles and cut down on the back-up of traffic down the road.

Controversial? Yes, but traffic lights slow traffic down. To increase any traffic flow, you must either eliminate them or find new routes to get to the same point. Nothing you do to the other intersections, even adding camera sensors, will alleviate these back-ups at peak times.

Raymond Kulig