By Hannah Heimbuch
Nearly 100 people turned out to a public traffic meeting in Homer last Tuesday, said Project Manager Carla Smith of the Department of Transportation.
DOT officials met with members of the Homer public to collect input on potential solutions for traffic congestion at the intersection of Main Street and the Homer Bypass.
The intersection is a busy one, seeing much of the traffic heading into and out of Homer, to the Homer Spit or to bypass businesses like Safeway or Islands and Oceans Visitor Center. Left-hand turns onto the Bypass can be time consuming and sometimes dangerous during summer’s busy traffic flow.
“Most people who attended the meeting preferred the signal option,” Smith said. “Their experiences in traveling through the intersection as a driver and a pedestrian was very informative and valuable.”
Three alternatives were presented on Tuesday, and range widely in projected costs.
A roundabout would come in at about $4 million, Smith said, while a signal light without turn lanes checks out at $1.5 million, and a signal light with turn lanes at $2 million.
The department has taken into account crash and traffic history at the intersection, design benefits and limitations, and now public input. Several concerns about the more expensive option came up, Smith said.
“The main concern regarding the roundabout option from the public, was access for large vehicles being driven by inexperienced drivers as well as access for double tractor trailers,” Smith said. “They were concerned that if a roundabout was constructed, the double tractor trailers would take an alternate route using Pioneer Avenue.”
The high turnout and discussion at the meeting has helped get the department closer to a decision, Smith said.
“Overall, the meeting was a great success,” she said.
The DOT plans to announce which alternative they have chosen in April. Homer residents will receive a newsletter announcing the decision.
“Then, we will proceed with design of the chosen alternative once we receive Authority to Proceed from the FHWA,” Smith said.
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