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Hanley Road will be 3 lanes

Hanley Road will be converted to three lanes of traffic after the Hudson Common Council approved staff to continue plans on it. The conversion was recommended by a traffic study on the road ahead of the 2018 street improvement project. File photo

A traffic study of Hanley Road found that converting the road to three lanes would be most effective to address concerns about turning and pedestrian crosswalks.

The Hudson Common Council approved city staff moving forward with plans to turn the four-lane road into three lanes, one for each direction of traffic with a turn lane through the center. Three crosswalks will be included in the plan, with raised medians in the center of the road for safe crossing.

Short Elliott Hendrickson traffic consultant Glen Van Wormer presented the study and suggestions to the council during a special meeting on Thursday, Dec. 7.

"If you've been on the road you recognize that these are really concerns," Van Wormer said.

The four lane roads were a common design in the past, and many are now being converted to three, Van Wormer said.

Though the speed limit will not change, Van Wormer said with truck traffic it could lower speed differentials, when some are driving the limit and some are driving 10 mph or more over.

"I'm not sure that that's a problem," Van Wormer said.

Though the surrounding area is seeing some development, Van Wormer said Hanley Road won't see much more traffic.

Mayor Rich O'Connor said he was concerned that the change might make it more difficult for drivers to turn onto Hanley Road from cross streets.

"I'm a little nervous about whether that's going to really stall traffic there," O'Connor said.

Van Wormer said the wait may be a little longer, but overall won't add much time and will be safer.

"The ones that have been completed have not ended up with problems," Van Wormer said.

O'Connor said he'd like to see consideration about a remedy if it does become a problem. Council Member Jim Webber said he would like to see right turn lanes considered for eastbound Hanley Road. Van Wormer said right turn lanes would be a benefit, but would require more extensive and expensive work as light poles and curbing would have to be moved and redone.

"We should look at doing this right," Webber said.

The crosswalks were designed to be in spots where a driver would expect them. They would be installed at Heritage Boulevard, Rock Street and Canyon Drive and the western intersection for O'Neil Road. Van Wormer said crosswalks need more than paint to be safe and successful. The medians provide an additional refuge as the pedestrians are crossing more than one lane of traffic.

"They need to be part of a planned system," safer in spots where a driver expects them.

The raised medians would not leave room for bike lanes. With the volume of truck traffic and concerns about bike speed on the hills, Van Wormer did not recommend adding bike lanes to the road. He said use of the existing trail would be the safest option.

The conversion will be part of the upcoming 2018 street improvement project. City Engineer Tom Syfko said preliminary plans show the conversion will add an additional $50,000 to $60,000 to the project that is currently budgeted for $900,000. Advertisements for bids would be around the end of January, after the plans are presented for final review at the final January council meeting.

Rebecca Mariscal

Rebecca Mariscal joined the Hudson Star Observer as a reporter in 2016. She graduated from the University of St. Thomas with a degree in communication and journalism. 

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