By Conrad Dudderar
A four-way stop is due to be installed soon and a construction of a roundabout is expected this year at a high-profile central Canadian County intersection just west of Yukon.
District 1 County Commissioner Marc Hader said he’s been working with state transportation officials to make safety improvements at the State Highway 66/Banner Road intersection – site of several fatality and dozens of injury crashes over the past 25 years.
“We’re trying to make that intersection safe,” Hader said at the Feb. 4th Yukon Legislative Breakfast.
The initial proposal agreed to last December was to install full traffic signals in place of the flashing lights at what many motorists call a “dangerous” intersection.
However, ODOT traffic engineer Brian Taylor estimated it would take at two to three years for the new signals to be installed.
The plan has evolved in recent weeks.
“Now we’ve decided to create a roundabout there, which we feel is a better safety solution,” Commissioner Hader told Legislative Breakfast attendees.
“We can move a lot quicker. ODOT likes to maintain pavement more than they like to maintain signals. They think we can get this done in about a year’s time.”
Canadian County will offer to pay private engineering costs to design the new roundabout to move the project ahead – and work could be finished by the end of 2020.
“I do think this will be a better fix overall,” Hader said.
Now, there are amber lights flashing east and west on SH-66 and stop signs on Banner Road for northbound and southbound traffic.
After a traffic collision last fall that killed Yukon businessman Ray Lee Davis, state and county officials agreed to place stop signs in all four directions.
The four-way stop is expected to be installed around Feb. 19 as a temporary measure, ODOT officials announced. The flashing lights will be changed from amber to red.
Canadian County has purchased large advanced warning “stop ahead” signs with flashing lights to be installed north and south on Banner Road, according to Commissioner Hader.
“All those things will come together in the very short term,” Hader said.
Traffic on SH-66 will be narrowed to one lane in each direction at the intersection through the end of 2020. County and state officials encourage drivers to be extra cautious when traveling through the area.
Davis, 73, was killed last November in a traffic collision at the SH-66/Banner Road intersection when the motorcycle he was driving collided with a semi-truck and trailer.
Oklahoma Highway Patrol investigators say Donald Garrett Biffle, 26, failed to stop and pulled out into Davis’ path from Banner Road. The Oklahoma City man has been charged in Canadian County District Court with negligent homicide and has been sued by Davis’ family for wrongful death.