Bad Highway Planning and You

Ever wonder why certain places on the highway? I know I do. My friend Dave showed us a place on the 405 in Los Angeles where the traffic just slows down or stops. Traffic engineers have studied it and can’t sort out why.

I-35 in south Oklahoma City has its spots too. But there are NO mysteries. It’s easy to see why the pile ups happen where they do. The N. 12th street on-ramp was once such spot. Before it was corrected the on-ramp was south of an off-ramp on the other side of the highway to Shields Blvd.

You can see it here in its current CORRECTED state.

12th

The on-ramp to I-35 (red) was moved north of the off-ramp (blue). This stopped people from entering the highway and trying to cross three lanes to just immediately exit on the Shields off-ramp. Instead of just driving a mile north on city streets and then on to Shields the inconsiderate drivers caused several traffic jams for decades. Including the first time I was hit in my Range Rover. I was rear ended due to the traffic jam caused by this situation.

The state finally studied the highway there and moved the on-ramp so that drivers could not cause the problem. It was a long time coming. But today the slow down there is due to traffic two miles up at I-240.

There are a few other on ramps between Norman and Oklahoma City that were designed back in the 1960’s and were never intended to carry the amount of traffic they do today. Traffic backs up there every day.

I came up on another on-ramp that was not corrected when they widened I-35 ten years ago. The traffic piles up after the S.E. 15th Street on-ramp. INCONSIDERATE drivers enter I-35 and then attempt to cross four lanes of traffic to exit on to I-40 west bound.

You can see it here.

15thcloser

 

The pile up happens once traffic reaches critical mass just after 7:30am. I-35 and I-40 are called “The Crossroads of America”. I-40 is coast to coast and I-35 is Canada to Texas. This intersection needs a multi-million dollar over haul. The confluence also has a rail spur and a river to add to the fun of correcting the horrible traffic in this area.

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I got to enjoy a lovely hour-long traffic jam the other morning. It was the perfect storm.

  • Poor highway planning.
  • Oklahoma rain.
  • Inconsiderate driver.

The road is poorly designed. Nearly anything can cause an issue. Any driver that doesn’t have good driving skills or as I often imagine doesn’t have the confidence they should to drive in the rush hour traffic.

Only God knows why Oklahoman’s can’t drive when it rains. They can’t drive when it snows either. I believe it is a confidence issue. That and most Oklahoma students do not understand enough Physics to know what their cars and tires can and cannot do.

An lastly an inconsiderate driver, who just pulls out on to the highway. Slows down and starts meandering their way to the far left lane on less than a mile of very congested roads. Add in a little testosterone and a kid who thinks they would make a good addition to the TV show Street Outlaws and you have a recipe for disaster.

You can see every lane is jammed. When I got up to the actual place the accident occurred two OKC fire engines has been dispatched and an ambulance.

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I was only delayed 25 minutes. But the highway at one point was backed up all the way into north Moore causing more than an hour delay for many thousands of drivers.

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You can see the pickup had obviously spun and hit the center wall. At least two other cars were also impacted. I don’t know who the ambulance was for, none of the cars were damaged enough to look like someone needed to be taken away by ambulance.

Unfortunately for me if they started TODAY this intersection, it would be completed just a few years before I am eligible to retire.

So what’s the take-away. Be a considerate driver. Find routes that don’t cause others to back up or cause them to stop while you futz your way across four lanes. It’s just bad manners.

Be safe out there, thanks for reading, take a driving course, and Happy Rovering.

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