The intersection of Braker Lane and I-35 in north Austin has seen 66 crashes in the last five years, according to the Austin Transportation Department (ATD), and the Department is set to try and remedy this issue. $1.25 billion in improvements will be made to the intersection over the next handful of months, including ADA-accessible curb cuts, improved pedestrian crossings, and the possibility of an extended median that would eliminate left turns into some of the retail parking, potentially cutting down on blind-corner accidents.
Road Improvements Mean Fewer Crashes
Despite the fact that construction can be annoying and difficult to navigate around for people in the area, the changes to the Braker Lane area are being made in order to minimize accidents, which have spiked after retail moved into the area. Because there are so many businesses and so much traffic at that intersection that was not there perhaps five years ago, the traffic demands have outpaced the lots’ and traffic lights’ ability to regulate it. Thus, ATD is using funds from the 2016 Mobility Bond to both regulate traffic and improve overall accessibility to the area, especially in specific improvements that will help the city comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).
In particular, median extensions like the one planned for Braker Lane are thought to make a significant difference in the number of traffic accidents at a specific intersection. Statistics from the Georgia Department of Transportation, citing the Federal Highway Administration, estimate that the intersection crash rate on divided highways is only 24 percent of the rate on undivided highways, and also show that on roads that see less than 24,000 vehicles per day, reducing ‘unrestricted’ left turns is generally a major key to reducing crashes overall....