Ada County Highway District

ACHD's Road Wizard Sunday, September 2, 2018 ACHD's Road Wizard

School crossing guard concerned about lack of speed limit signs on Park Center Boulevard; reader suggests mats as way to deal with manhole covers below street grade; reader reacts to the new intersection at Idaho 16 and Beacon Light Road

The Road Wizard Replies

Dear Road Wizard: I've recently started a job as the school crossing guard at Riverside Elementary School on Park Center Boulevard. I can't believe how fast the cars travel on Park Center, especially from Apple Street to Bown Way, and I realized that there is only one speed limit sign on that stretch of road. I know that speed limit signs don't necessarily slow down the speeders, but it's worth it to have more installed!


Road Wizard:

Back to school is so much better when there is a crossing guard to have your back. But eastbound drivers on Park Center approaching the school should notice two 35 mph speed limit signs, one east of Apple and one east of Law. There are also two signs for westbound traffic, west of Gossamer Lane and west of Spring Meadow Lane.

The spacing for speed limit signs on major/arterial roads like Park Center is one-half mile apart, which is about the distance between the sign serving eastbound Park Center at Law and the school crossing.

The speed limit sign at Law also wasn,t placed closer to the school to avoid confusion. There is a school zone for Riverside on Park Center. It's best if drivers don't see a 35 mph speed limit sign just before they see a 20 mph school zone sign. But ACHD will investigate the benefit of putting an additional sign on Park Center.

Dear Road Wizard: I love reading your column in the paper. You recently answered a question regarding manhole covers and that it costs $1,000 to put the cement ring around them. I have a suggestion to pass along. When chip sealing the roads, a mat is placed on top of the manhole cover. I love the mats as you no longer have jaw-jarring drops when driving over the manhole. The mats seem to "cushion" the drop. Why don't they come up with a mat that can be placed on top of manhole covers that have a significant drop?


Road Wizard:

Road maintenance folks call these mats doilies (not to be confused with the crochet kind used to protect furniture of course). The mats are made of roofing felt and are placed over manholes and water valves so they don't get covered up by chip seal material.

Grease is applied as a temporary glue to keep the mats in place, and once the chip seal trucks have passed by, the doilies are picked up and used down the road.

Keeping them in place permanently is a good idea, but keeping them attached to the manhole lid would be tricky. Remember, the constant thump of traffic will compress even solid steel manhole covers. The mats wouldn't hold up nearly as well, and would need constant attention.

Dear Road Wizard: Kudos to ACHD and the Idaho Transportation Department for completing the Idaho 16 and Beacon Light Road intersection. It's such a wonderful feeling to go through that intersection without worrying that you didn't see somebody coming on a cross road! You have saved many lives by doing this!


Road Wizard:

Thank you for the kind words. A traffic safety audit verified the need for widening the intersection and adding a signal, and it was also the City of Eagle's top project request. The improvements will also better handle increasing traffic, and it's timely with the opening of the new Star Middle School just to the west.

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