Only 48 hours after opening, the newest section of Oklahoma City Boulevard is already developing an accident hot spot where it intersects with S. Klein Avenue.
And, with Oklahoma Department of Transportation plans to keep the intersection a two way stop without signals, the accident rate could stay high.
While there was much attention paid to the two-way stop at the boulevard and S. Walker Tuesday — some of it contributed by Free Press — the real danger seems to be at the intersection at S. Klein.
There is only a two-way stop at the intersection. It has been a two-way stop since the intersection was established.
The difference now is that traffic is flowing from and toward the east where it was not when that section was still closed.
Up through 8 a.m. Thursday, the two accidents on the newly-opened section of the boulevard between Shields Avenue and S. Klein have both been at S. Klein according to Officer Megan Morgan with the Oklahoma City Police Department.
The first accident occurred without injury at the intersection around 7 p.m. Monday, the same day — and only hours — after the boulevard was opened.
Then, Wednesday at around 4:30 p.m., the second accident occurred with
The intersection of Klein and W. Sheridan Avenue, less than a half-block to the north, has been a traffic problem since construction closed Western and Classen a few blocks to the east.
The extra diverted auto traffic load combined with heavy foot traffic of businesses and a government agency at Klein and Sheridan has created enough confusion in the area to generate accidents.
But, there have been only two more accidents at Klein and W. Sheridan in 21 days compared to the two on Oklahoma City Boulevard in 48 hours.
Morgan reported that there have been four accidents at Reno and S. Klein since August 1 — two with injury and two without.
Contrary to what some were informally saying at the boulevard’s grand opening, the newest section still belongs to the ODOT until around the end of September when they plan to turn it over to the City of Oklahoma City.
Free Press asked ODOT specifically about the intersection of Klein and Oklahoma City Boulevard.
The intersection is not temporary according to Brenda Perry with ODOT.
She said the boulevard project does not call for that intersection to have signals when fully complete.
Instead, it will be a two-way stop on either side of the boulevard, adding two-way traffic on Klein between Reno and Sheridan on either side of the boulevard.
Currently, Klein is one-way northbound of Reno to the boulevard, but southbound from Sheridan it is two way.
“We have committed to opening sections of the boulevard as they are drivable,” said Perry. “We do that on projects throughout the state. We don’t want to hold drivers hostage when they can drive on a section of roadway being completed as long as it’s safe.”
“However, safety is our number one concern,” Perry said.
“When people travel on Oklahoma City Boulevard for now, there needs to be a heightened awareness that this section of the boulevard is not complete,” said Perry. “It will continue to be a construction zone until the end of September.”
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