Breaking the bottleneck?

Henley/220 intersection plan to bring relief

By Wesley LeBlanc
Posted 1/30/19

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – The bottlenecked intersection at Henley Road and County Road 220 could drastically change in the near future due to a plan approved this month to construct what’s called a …

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Breaking the bottleneck?

Henley/220 intersection plan to bring relief

Posted

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – The bottlenecked intersection at Henley Road and County Road 220 could drastically change in the near future due to a plan approved this month to construct what’s called a quadrant intersection.

The plan, presented at the BCC’s Jan. 22 meeting by Jim Knight, an Urban Transportation Development Manager for Florida Department of Transportation, was initially brought up last Sept. 11. When presented by Clay County Engineering and Public Works Director Dale Smith, commissioners asked for more information before committing to the project.

“Initially our plan was to put a normal intersection, but we weren’t seeing good results so we looked at what is called a quadrant intersection,” Knight said. “In a quadrant intersection, we take some of the moves out of the main intersection and spread them out over an adjacent intersection...and this makes the [traffic] signal work better.”

The intersection is prone to bottleneck daily as CR 200 narrows from four lanes to two in a curve just east of Henley, which is now four lanes. The bottleneck is exacerbated going west as drivers are forced to pile on to the two-laned remainder of CR 200 as it travels west to Blanding Boulevard.

According to Knight, when FDOT ran its analysis for a 2040 prediction, which sees Clay County’s population and traffic grow tremendously, the numbers were quite telling. If no changes were to be made to this intersection at Henley Road and County Road 220, by 2040, it would take a vehicle 548 seconds – roughly 9 minutes – to move through this area via the intersection signal.

With an expanded intersection, which would see the area become a four-lane area but not feature a quadrant intersection, that time drops to 140 seconds per vehicle, which is a little longer than two minutes. With a quadrant intersection put in place, though, this time drops significantly to just 36 seconds per vehicle.

While the quadrant intersection costs more than other potential intersection options, and uses more right-of-way, Knight said, it is best the way forward if the county wants to solve the issue.

“At right-of-way ongoing, the four-lane up to the intersection is funded for construction in fiscal year 2021,” Knight said. “We have all of the right-of-way through the intersection funded and we’re working on trying to get the funding lined up for the intersection area.”

Right now, the intersection will cost $7.8 million. Of that $7.8 million, $2.6 million has already been funded. Knight said the funding is a combination of local county funds, federal funds directed by the Transportation Planning Organization and state funds.

BCC Chairman Mike Cella, who was admittedly the most skeptical of this idea last September, said he recently got the chance to drive on a quadrant intersection and said that although he thinks it will take some time for drivers to learn how it works, once understood, this type of intersection is markedly better than the other proposed solutions.

“So I think what we need to do here today is I think approve the concept so we can send that off to design,” Cella said. “We can approve that contingent on you holding that public hearing sometime in the near future with citizens to get their input on it and then we can start design work and keep the flow of this steady and ready.”

“As the one who was most skeptical, I’m ready to jump on the quadrant train,” Cella said before calling for a vote on this intersection.

When it came time for the vote, the BCC approved the quadrant intersection with a 4-1 vote, with County Commissioner Gayward Hendry dissenting. Hendry didn’t comment afterward why he dissented, but during Knight’s presentation, Hendry did ask questions that indicated he was skeptical of the 36 seconds per vehicle statistic for the quadrant intersection.

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