Open road welcome; traffic concerns remain
The long-awaited new road connecting the Menards area to Jamestown Regional Medical Center opened this week. Kudos to city leaders who worked to develop a plan and arrange financing for the project, which has economic and safety benefits for the city.
City leaders’ work solved what was considered the most pressing transportation concern for Jamestown in the Land Use and Transportation Plan developed in 2015. The road provides another route to the hospital that does not involve Interstate 94.
Having more routes available to access the hospital is critical for the hospital and the community. The Sun previously editorialized that having only one way to access the hospital posed a potential access issue in the event of a disaster.
Having the new route also provides a way for residents to reach the hospital who don’t want to drive on I-94 or use the bypass to get there.
Having the road opened is decidedly good for Jamestown. It also spotlights other traffic issues in that area, issues that will not be resolved with the opening of the road.
Is the current traffic control infrastructure in southwest Jamestown sufficient to handle the extra traffic? Particular concerns are the four-way stop at the intersection next to Applebee’s and the traffic signals where 25th Street Southwest intersects with U.S. Highway 281. With heavier traffic, these intersections could become bottlenecks to Jamestown’s future.
The 25th Street Southwest intersection is already too close to the I-94 on- and off-ramps, making the area dangerous for travelers. Additional traffic will increase the danger as well as contribute to congestion in the area.
Rather than wait to see what problems develop, it might be time to be proactive and have a traffic study done for the area. Such a study could plan solutions and estimate costs so long-term planning could be done.
If upgrades are necessary, they can be made over time. After all, Jamestown solved the problem of adding another road to the hospital - it can find a solution to these problems.
Editorials are the opinion of Jamestown Sun management and the newspaper’s editorial board.