Five Mile Road, Beechmont Avenue intersection safer and faster after redesign

ANDERSON TOWNSHIP, Ohio -- Crashes at Anderson Township's busiest intersection have dramatically dropped since a redesign was completed last summer.

And an engineering study, as well as drivers, have reported shorter wait times to get through the Five Mile Road/Beechmont Avenue intersection.

"To me, it has felt much safer, and traffic is smoother," said Elizabeth Barber, an Anderson resident who drives through the intersection daily. 

"I haven't waited more than one or two minutes," she said. "I'm kind of proud of us for being so innovative and being ahead of the game on this."

Called a continuous flow intersection, the design is doing what it was intended to do, said Steve Sievers, the township's operating manager.

"Generally speaking, if you follow the signs and know where you are going, it's pretty easy," Sievers said.

The left-turn-signal lane starts before the intersection so drivers turning left off Five Mile onto Beechmont, for example, have to make that decision several feet before where they would normally turn left. Drivers who wait will find themselves continuing on a north or south path.

According to the township's website, crash data compiled by the Hamilton County Engineer’s Office, and recent reports from the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office, indicated accidents are down. Data also show the average time interval between accidents has increased by 223 percent.

Five accidents have been reported at the location in the six-month period -- about one every six weeks since it opened in May 2017. By comparison, Sievers noted that in the last 10 years, an average of 29 accidents a year occurred at the site -- about one every 1.8 weeks.

Traffic times were measured by TEC Engineering, a consulting engineering group, in recent weeks, with a reduction in average delay of 57.8 percent for the intersection during the morning rush hour. (Comparisons were drawn between 2004 conditions and 2017.)

For the evening rush hour, the average delay per vehicle was reduced by 44.7 seconds, or 60.7 percent. The largest improvement was noted in the eastbound Beechmont traffic during the evening rush hour.

The redesigned intersection, which cost $3.5 million, is one of the newest intersection designs in place across the U.S. Sievers said there is a continuous flow intersection south of Dayton, but the next closest one is likely in St. Louis. 

And while the work is done, ODOT will continue to monitor and adjust to make timing even better.

"It's an evolving scenario," said Brian Cunningham, spokesman with the District 8 Ohio Department of Transportation. "We'll continue to tweak the timing (at Beechmont and Five Mile). The major footprint has been completed, and now we will make sure it continues to operate as intended."

What's next for intersections? Cunningham said there's a new concept called "super streets" that's an elongated roundabout. One exists in Xenia, Ohio.

For now, all reports show drivers are less frustrated at Five Mile and Beechmont and getting to work or home a little bit faster.

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