Queen Creek mulls adding right-turn lane on northbound Rittenhouse Road onto Octotillo

Mohammed Youssel, transportation engineer manager for Queen Creek, gives a presentation on proposed changes for Rittenhouse and Ocotillo roads at the April 4 Queen Creek Town Council meeting. (Photo by Richard H. Dyer, Independent Newsmedia)

As Queen Creek continues to grow and the traffic increases on its main roads, so does the need for road improvements.

Town council members and officials discussed during an April 4 council meeting the need for a right-turn lane on northbound Rittenhouse Road onto eastbound Ocotillo Road.

Town staff believe the benefits of a right-turn lane at that intersection outweigh the $500,000 overall costs. Council members suggested that traffic engineers bring the issue back for discussion at a later time because they believe other intersections need to be considered for turn lanes.

Last year, Queen Creek Town Council approved the construction of road improvements along Rittenhouse Road by Kimley Horn, a national construction and infrastructure improvement consulting firm. If completed, the traffic congestion that has continued to increase on that stretch of road would be relieved.

It would best benefit Queen Creek to have a shared right-turn lane as opposed to a single-turn lane, according to Mohammed Youssel, transportation engineer manager for Queen Creek.

“The benefit is way more if we have a shared through right lane,” Mr. Youssel said. “We have a very heavy left-turn movement on southbound Rittenhouse at Ocotillo. Anytime you have that, adding a shared right lane on northbound Rittenhouse will help to have intersection lane balance.”

After discussing options for a single turn lane and a shared right lane for traffic projections this year and in 2025 and 2035, Mr. Youssel said that the best benefit at that intersection would be adding a shared right lane that would allow turns and through traffic.

In comparison, the projected traffic for a single right-turn lane would allow 1,743 vehicles to make a right turn; a shared right lane would allow 2,241 vehicles to make a right turn during busy drive times.

A shared through northbound right lane or third lane at the intersection would match the three southbound lanes on Rittenhouse at Ocotillo, Mr. Youssel said.

Of the overall $500,000 cost, $314,000 would be for construction, $136,000 would be spent on acquisitioning about 5,000 square-feet of right-of-way property and $50,000 for the design cost.

If Queen Creek decides to move forward with the right-turn lane addition on Rittenhouse at Ocotillo, the improvements along that 393-foot stretch of road would include:

  • a standard 12-foot wide lane addition,
  • a 6-foot wide sidewalk addition
  • a dual handicapped ramp meeting American Disabilities Act standards, replacing the single ramp.
  • drainage improvements
  • traffic signal improvements

Other changes in the right-of-way acquisition would include moving the nearby CVS monument sign, minor tree removal and relocating some SRP lighting.

A lot of the traffic in that area is during school hours and would be in the morning and late afternoon when students are driving to and from the high school.

Council member Robin Benning was the first to voice concerns for whether a turn lane at Rittenhouse should be a priority and for council to possibly consider improvements on other roads.

“I’m afraid as much as I would like to see a solution for the problem, I don’t see that kind of cost for what we’re talking about,” Mr. Benning said. “I would encourage council to look at Signal Butte and Meridian northbound. That crosses at Combs, Rittenhouse or Riggs. If we have to spend $500,000, that looks like a better investment.”

Council member Jake Hoffman’s sentiments echoed Councilman Benning’s.

“Queen Creek is not the most navigable community,” Councilman Hoffman said. “I suggest we bring the issue back at a later time.”

Editor’s note: Mike Sakal is a freelance journalist at the Queen Creek Independent.

 

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