A few years back, city officials identified five of the worst intersections in Austin and decided to do something about them.
The City Council in 2015 set aside funding to improve those intersections, where about 250 wrecks causing serious injuries and one fatality had happened between 2012 and 2014.
Improvements at Slaughter Lane at Manchaca Road are still under construction, though work has finished at the other four. Here’s what’s changed:
I-35 service road and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard
• Changes: Converted one of the right-turn-only lanes into a southbound through lane; expanded the pedestrian island on the southbound side; added raised crosswalks with highly visible, broad striping.
• Construction cost: $72,806
• Completed: October 2016
• Crashes: Dropped 61 percent*
U.S. 183 service road and Cameron Road
• Changes: Added islands along right-turn lanes with high-visibility crosswalks; installed a flashing warning light on the eastbound frontage road, ahead of the traffic signal, to warn drivers they’re coming up to a red light.
• Construction cost: $141,412
• Completed: November 2016
• Crashes: Dropped 57 percent*
North Lamar Boulevard, between Rutland Drive and Rundberg Lane
• Changes: Added a raised median along Lamar to prevent drivers from making left turns out of the shopping centers and across the busy street; added high-visibility crosswalks, reconstructed pedestrian ramps and a flashing crossing light for pedestrians.
• Construction cost: $761,083
• Completed: June 2017
• Crashes: Dropped 22 percent*
North Lamar Boulevard and Parmer Lane
• Changes: Added an island by the right-turn lane to force drivers to take a tighter, slower turn, reducing the likelihood of rear-end crashes that had been common here. Also added a new traffic signal, high-visibility crosswalks and a flashing crossing light for pedestrians.
• Construction cost: $675,936
• Completed: July 2017
• Crashes: Dropped 43 percent*
* City engineers compared the number of post-improvement crashes, projected over a year’s time, to the average number of crashes per year before the upgrades were made.
Source: Austin Transportation Department