Will this fix the Woodruff Road nightmare?
Temporary fixes to help tame traffic-snarled Woodruff Road for the holidays could last year round.
City traffic planners on Thursday began restricting left turn movements between Magnolia Park and the Interstate 85 interchange in an effort to manage traffic on the popular shopping thoroughfare.
By erecting concrete barricades along this 830-feet-long stretch, planners say they’re cutting the incident rate down to “basically zero.”
“If you can't turn left, you can't turn in front of somebody,” said City Engineering Services Manager Dwayne Cooper.
At least 52 accidents have occurred between Woodruff Industrial Lane and the I-85 bridge so far this year, Cooper said.
The barriers were first used over Black Friday weekend last year and were a big hit, according to Cooper.
The measures were so successful that planners decided to get a jump start this year and are looking to construct a median to prohibit left turns between Magnolia Park and the I-85 interchange for good.
The holiday traffic plan includes the use of electronic message boards, which will provide motorists with directional cues.
Those messages will most likely say, “do not block intersections,” Cooper said.
“Truthfully that's one of the biggest problems with Woodruff Road is people blocking the intersections, and then it kind of just shuts the whole road down,” he said.
The thoroughfare carries an estimated 30,000 vehicles on a typical day. Holiday shoppers add even more to that tally.
Based on state Department of Transportation observations, traffic planners said the less traveled times of day on Woodruff Road are weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon and Saturday before 10 a.m.
Traffic is heaviest on weekdays from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. and after 11 a.m. Saturday, according to the city.
Officials are encouraging motorists to plan their trips to Woodruff Road during times when there's less congestion and to use alternate routes.
Cooper said he's used a combination of Miller Road, Salters Road, Millennium Boulevard and Carolina Point Parkway to "try to stay off Woodruff Road as much as possible to get closer to my destination."
Planners said they'll also be closely monitoring key signalized intersections, such as the ones around Magnolia Park and The Shops at Greenridge, on Black Friday weekend.
Woodruff Road, by the numbers:
At least 52 traffic accidents have occurred between Woodruff Industrial Lane and the I-85 interchange so far this year.
Woodruff Road typically carries an estimated 30,000 vehicles per day.
Peak times are 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays as well as Saturdays after 11 a.m.