Fixing a troubled intersection |

Fixing a troubled intersection

A big-rig truck blared its horn and swerved as a small Honda sports utility vehicle merged from Alder Creek Road on to Highway 89 Monday afternoon, and Brenda Van Arsdale said, “That’s exactly why this intersection needs to be changed.”

Van Arsdale is the mother of Kyle “Dutch” Van Arsdale, a 21 year old who was killed in an accident at the same intersection in July.

Recently Van Arsdale, along with about 70 other concerned residents, attended a joint Caltrans/ Town of Truckee meeting to discuss possible improvements to the intersection that may prevent future tragedies, with projects ranging from tree-trimming for line-of-sight to the less likely freeway-style interchange.

With alternatives like stop signs, stop lights, and roundabouts on the table, Van Arsdale, along with many others in the room, wanted to focus on reduced speed limits, better signs announcing the intersection, and improved sight lines.

“At that intersection speed is a huge issue and sight is a huge issue,” Van Arsdale said.

But reducing the speed limit on a state highway isn’t as easy as going out and changing the signs ” instead requiring an act of state legislature, said Robert Peterson with Caltrans Traffic Safety at the Oct. 30 meeting.

Currently, speeds are determined by the 85th percentile ” where speed limits are within 5 miles per hour of what 85 percent of people drive, Peterson said.

This doesn’t dissuade Van Arsdale, however.

“If we have to go to the state we will,” Van Arsdale said. “Think of the lives we would save if we could get the speed down.”

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