MURRAY — In February, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet District 1 Chief Engineer Kyle Poat met with members of the Murray City Council and discussed an old issue — the Five Points intersection and ways to improve the traffic flow.
Throughout the meeting, Poat and the council members seemed to have the same idea, which was to investigate low-cost methods to tackling the problem. He had said such ideas as changing electronic traffic signals or adding turn lanes did not qualify as “low cost.”
However, something as simple as adjusting the striping might fit the bill, and as he departed, Poat said “I’m willing to try anything.”
And after investigating the matter with fellow engineers at the Paducah office, it appears Poat was serious. Earlier this week, motorists began to notice that there has been a change where College Farm Road meets the west side of the intersection with South 16th Street and Coldwater Road before becoming Chestnut Street on the east side. Now, instead of the right lane only allowing for right turns, it has been altered to also allow for continuing straight, while the left lane that used to be for going straight is now left-turn only.
“He said he was willing to try anything. Well, he followed through with it,” said City of Murray Mayor Bob Rogers on Wednesday. “And I hope it does help with the traffic there.”
KYTC District 1 Public Information Officer Keith Todd said that what he was told about the February meeting is that Poat had learned that there were complaints that council members had relayed from motorists, especially when it came to the College Farm Road side.
“For the folks heading east (from College Farm Road), there previously had been a dedicated right turn, so that meant that people wanting to go straight had to use the left lane. Well, that is where people could also be attempting a left turn and, when they had to wait for their chance, that was causing things to back up behind them,” Todd said. “So we’ve done some tweaking of that and basically flipped the stripes. Now, we’ve got the left lane as a dedicated left turn lane and the right lane is now where you can go straight through and also turn right if you need to.”
These delays have been known to particularly lengthy in duration at certain times. Among these is about 3:15 p.m. on weekdays between August and May when Calloway County High School, Middle School and Preschool have ended classes and students and faculty members begin to depart those campuses. Another time when College Farm’s side of Five Points can become crowded is following events at Murray State University’s Cherry Expo Center, which is across the road from the Calloway campuses.
Todd added that the striping that is in place at College Farm was applied with what he called temporary material. This is because paving is scheduled for Five Points within about a year, he said.
“At that point, we’ll be able to put more permanent markers at that spot,” Todd said.