EL CENTRO — The city of El Centro public works department proposed a traffic pattern change at the intersection of Cruickshank and Cottonwood drives east of Highway 86.
“This is an intersection that has seen increased traffic and is an uncontrolled intersection,” said Abraham Campos, public works director and city engineer. He said “uncontrolled intersection” means motorists can make any number of movements from any of the streets.
The only control is a stop sign on Cottonwood before entering Cruickshank, and Cruickshank doesn’t have any signs; motorists freely move east and west.
This situation has, from 2016 to the present, resulted in 21 calls to the police department. Six of them were traffic accidents that resulted in injuries. There were no fatalities reported, according to Campos. The reports do not include close calls and unreported accidents. “We are trying to be proactive and mitigate accidents.”
There are two “no left turn signs” in the middle of a median on southbound Cottonwood Drive but many motorists ignore the signs and make things more dangerous, said Campos.
At the council meeting October 3, Campos presented three options to the council for discussion. A four-way stop sign, a signal light, or to extend the concrete median. The first two options will cause traffic stacking and will potentially block Highway 86.
The third option is “a viable cost-effective solution” according Campos. “The proposal includes extending the existing median to the west in order to block the north-south traffic on Cottonwood from crossing Cruickshank Drive.”
Public Works Department staff reached out to businesses surrounding the commercial area and advised them of the proposed changes. These included Joseph Michael’s Development (the site holding Ross, PetSmart, and Aldi’s), Jack-in-the-Box, Chase Bank, Farmer Boys, Applebee's, and El Centro Motors.
So far, the public works department has received positive feedback from most of the businesses. To date, it has not received any feedback from Jack-in-the-Box and El Centro Motors.
According to Campos, construction to extend the median line will likely start next month or early December, and is projected to be completed by the end of the year.
However, council members still had questions. As a result, further discussions will be scheduled and reported at the next council meeting.