VALPARAISO | The locations of Valparaiso's worst intersections for crashes doesn't change much from year to year, just the ranking, but city Engineering Director Tim Burkman hopes to see some change in four on U.S. 30.
The annual Top 10 list of highest crash intersections was presented at Tuesday's traffic and safety committee meeting, and once again the LaPorte Avenue/Ind. 49 interchange was the runaway "winner" with 53 wrecks in 2012. The next closest intersection was U.S. 30 and Washington Street with 33.
The traffic signal on the west side of the LaPorte/Ind. 49 interchange was installed in the middle of the year, so its impact can't be judged. Burkman said 29 of the crashes occurred at that area, mostly involving southbound vehicles turning west and rear-ending a vehicle in front of them as they watched for traffic on LaPorte Avenue to clear.
U.S. 30 has four intersections on the list. The others are: Strongbow Centre Drive, 21 accidents (5th); Sturdy Road, 21 (5th); and Horseprairie Avenue, 11 (8th). Burkman said all four are included in the corridor improvements being designed by a consultant with some of the projects starting as early as late this year.
The consultants will look at ways of improving the traffic flow at each intersection along with pedestrian and transit facilities and beautification. The improvements will be funded by $22 million pledged by the state Transportation Department in exchange for Valparaiso taking over maintenance of Ind. 130/Lincolnway.
The roundabout at LaPorte, Lincolnway and Sturdy was third with 26 wrecks. Burkman said that was down from 35 in 2011 and was fewer than the final year of the old triangle intersection in 2006. The biggest thing, Burkman said, was no serious injuries were reported because the crashes were low-speed, sideswipe type wrecks with only a couple causing more than $5,000 damage total to both vehicles.
"I can't remember the last time we sent an ambulance to the roundabout," Assistant Fire Chief Dan Lamb said.
Others in the Top 10 were Silhavy Road/LaPorte, 26 (3rd-tie); Calumet Avenue/Evans Avenue, 12 (7th); Calumet/Vale Park Road/Roosevelt Road, 11 (8th-tie); Glendale Roosevelt/Roosevelt and Glendale/Calumet, 10, (10th-tie).