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Saturday, January 20 2018 @ 01:49 AM AKST

The coming changes to the Big Lake Traffic Pattern

Community You have probably heard the rumours that Big Lake is getting a Roundabout at The "Y". If this is the first you've heard of this, then you're not alone, but you've probably noticed the work last summer and wondered what was happening.

The MSB describes this project: "The purpose of this project is to construct a new intersection at Big Lake Road and Northshore Drive.


The type of intersection improvements based on an engineering analysis that considered traffic and pedestrian safety, roadway drainage, and maintenance costs as well as public comment and community goals was for a roundabout.

A resolution by the Big Lake Community Council identified pedestrian safety and vehicle speed as some of the concerns they hope the project will address. Borough and State maintenance crews have identified drainage as a major headache at both locations."

The engineering work and drawings have been completed for the "Roundabout", all the studies wrapped up, now construction can begin. Design and ROW acquisition is progressing with the intent to construct during the summer of 2015. The total project budget is $2,000,000. The State of Alaska will fund this project at a 50/50 split with the Borough.

The Big Lake Times has obtained documents relating to the proposed changes, including a detailed study of traffic in Big Lake. This 65 page document titled "Technical Memo" was prepared by HDR for the "Big Lake Intersection Traffic Study." Dated January 9, 2015, "This technical memo documents the traffic study HDR has completed for of two intersections in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough’s Big Lake Area to identify potential capacity improvements that would be required to carry potential long-term future traffic demand." [There is a link to this study at the end of this article-ed.]

The study looked at 2 intersections in Big Lake: "The two Big Lake area intersections studied are both on Big Lake Road. They are (1) North Shore Drive and (2) W. Hollywood Road/Big Lake Lodge Road. Their characteristics are described below. Figure 1 shows the location of these two intersections relative to key land uses according to recent data." These figures are shown in the report, linked below.

The report came up with 3 proposals:
Option 1 – No Build
Option 2 – Roundabout
Option 3 - Signal

Option 1 – No Build
"The “No Build” option assumes that there would be no changes to the intersection geometry or
control characteristics between 2014 and 2034." Anyone that has lived or worked in Big Lake, or visited here, knows that changes have and are happening. Change is inevitable, and this option seems the least beneficial.

Option 2 – Roundabout
The traffic study team was directed to analyze the “Roundabout” option at each intersection. The designs for the roundabout at the intersection of Big Lake Road and North Shore Drive have been completed.

Option 3 - Signal
A traffic signal is proposed at the two study intersections for Option 3. "The analysis of Option 3 assumed no additional lanes, in order to show a conservative picture of traffic operations with the future volume projections. The additional turn pockets shown would allow for more orderly traffic flow and lower delays in general."

CONCLUSIONS
The study arrived at several conclusions: "The three option analyses are compared for p.m. peak hour conditions in Table 9 and 10. As shown all of the options operate at generally acceptable LOS and delay for the two study intersections. During the p.m. peak hour there is very little difference between the three options. From a driver’s perspective the roundabout will appear to have the smoothest traffic operation, especially during non-peak hours, although both option 2 and option 3 would introduce some potential new delay to Big Lake Road through traffic that does not occur today. The safest option, with respect to collisions, is likely to be Option 2 (Roundabout). When compared with signalized and two-way stop-controlled intersections, the collisions that occur in roundabouts are typically more minor and tend to cause fewer injuries because they occur at lower speeds. The overall life cycle costs (construction, operation, and maintenance) for a roundabout would be significantly less than for a traffic signal."

"At Intersection #2 (Hollywood), the skewed angle of Big Lake Lodge Road with Hollywood Blvd and Big Lake Lodge Road , makes the signal solution, Option 3, function slightly better."

By now you have probably concluded that Big Lake is getting a roundabout, and a traffic light.

Maybe 2 roundabouts: "The short term nature of the traffic counts do not account for seasonal variations in traffic volumes. Studies on similar roads have indicated that the seasonal traffic volume spikes are enough to
estimate that hourly volumes meet a Condition B signal warrant, interruption of continuous traffic, only seasonally. Both of these intersections could benefit from a roundabout due to these seasonal variations in traffic."

When we have events such as this past weekends Iron Dog, the Triathlon, Winterfest, or the Mud Volleyball, to name but a few, the traffic is very heavy. Apparently we'll just have to deal with those days, perhaps with a smoother flow of traffic.

The report addresses traffic speed next: "The DOT is preparing a speed study for Big Lake Road. A draft copy of the initial results is in Appendix F. The existing speed limit is 45 mph. The study indicates the 85th percentile speed remains at 45 mph. The approach speed for a roundabout is 25 mph. Installation of a roundabout at either or both intersections will have an overall slowing effect on all traffic."

Stopping at an intersection and waiting for traffic to clear is already an issue at the "Y". Will installing a roundabout make things better?

We'll soon find out.




Related Article: Big Lake chooses a bypass route
http://thebiglaketimes.com/article.ph...4094841113

Source Documents:

Big Lake Intersection Traffic Study - January 2015 (pdf 3.45 MB)
http://www.matsugov.us/projects?task=...p;id=13419

Big Lake Base with Survey - December 2014 (pdf 1.48 MB)
http://www.matsugov.us/projects?task=...p;id=13419

[Reposted-ed]

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The coming changes to the Big Lake Traffic Pattern | 29 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
The coming changes to the Big Lake Traffic Pattern
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, February 24 2015 @ 12:08 PM AKST
OMG this is going to be disruptive. Will there be a diversion?
The coming changes to the Big Lake Traffic Pattern
Authored by: Arthur on Friday, February 27 2015 @ 12:00 PM AKST
A diversion? More like a lengthy disruption. Big Lake Growing Pains.
The coming changes to the Big Lake Traffic Pattern
Authored by: big mike on Monday, March 02 2015 @ 12:36 PM AKST
A diversion where? There's no way around that corner is there? How will this impact local businesses? I didn't see that assessment in the documents you listed. We're getting it like it or not so how do we deal with this?
The coming changes to the Big Lake Traffic Pattern
Authored by: glen on Tuesday, February 24 2015 @ 12:21 PM AKST
damn this is a lot of stuff to read. aren't they also going to make a 4-lane all the way to Big Lake?
The coming changes to the Big Lake Traffic Pattern
Authored by: Anony Moose on Friday, February 27 2015 @ 11:57 AM AKST
Only to the junction with the parks hiway, according to what I read on this site. BTW great job guys and gals.
The coming changes to the Big Lake Traffic Pattern
Authored by: Anna on Tuesday, February 24 2015 @ 01:02 PM AKST
Excellent detailed reporting.
The coming changes to the Big Lake Traffic Pattern
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, March 21 2015 @ 11:01 AM AKDT
It started in BL last summer. It has been circulating in BL for months now. There is a sketch of what it is to look like when completed, at Bob's mini market.
The coming changes to the Big Lake Traffic Pattern
Authored by: m on Thursday, February 26 2015 @ 01:29 PM AKST
Article says community input, I didn't hear of this until now!
The coming changes to the Big Lake Traffic Pattern
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, May 12 2015 @ 01:57 PM AKDT
I have 2 commercial properties that will be cut-off from big lake road due to the roundabout, why weren't we included in on the planning? I'm not happy, and wish more people would stand up against something we already voted down last election cycle.
The coming changes to the Big Lake Traffic Pattern
Authored by: Anon on Thursday, February 26 2015 @ 01:39 PM AKST
Something needs to be done with that corner anyway. Theres a weird intersection, not a Y, and all kinds of turnouts there. And bike and ORV paths all converging. And the post office.
The coming changes to the Big Lake Traffic Pattern
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, February 26 2015 @ 05:13 PM AKST
Why haven't I heard of this before now? This is becoming my go-to site for local news.
The coming changes to the Big Lake Traffic Pattern
Authored by: vika on Wednesday, March 04 2015 @ 01:14 PM AKST
Mine too! Now that I know when meetings and events and things are happening I can learn more for myself. Thanks for that too Big Lake Times
The coming changes to the Big Lake Traffic Pattern
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, February 26 2015 @ 06:57 PM AKST
Watch, this will be a mess for years.
The coming changes to the Big Lake Traffic Pattern
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, February 26 2015 @ 07:45 PM AKST
A roundabout is an excellent idea, i would like to see one at Hollywood, Big lake lodge rd as well. We could have an awesome downtown area!
The coming changes to the Big Lake Traffic Pattern
Authored by: red on Saturday, February 28 2015 @ 05:20 PM AKST
I am inclined to agree with you. We need to get hold of planning before it runs away with us.
The coming changes to the Big Lake Traffic Pattern
Authored by: Uwotm8 on Friday, February 27 2015 @ 12:05 PM AKST
I know this isn't the UK, but we have them all over and people have adapted. It's coming, so deal with it. And it's not a new idea.

Change happens.
The coming changes to the Big Lake Traffic Pattern
Authored by: yourenot on Monday, March 02 2015 @ 12:17 PM AKST
I realize this is going to cause a disturbance in the traffic of Big Lake, but I think it's a good thing. Now we just need to keep motorized vehicles off the damn paved bike path.
The coming changes to the Big Lake Traffic Pattern
Authored by: mike on Monday, March 02 2015 @ 12:31 PM AKST
thanks for this report, very detailed but well layed out with sources. anyone with a complaint about this should consider becoming more involved in the community. this site has all the meeting times and places. maybe they should skype the meetings?
The coming changes to the Big Lake Traffic Pattern
Authored by: big mike on Monday, March 02 2015 @ 12:42 PM AKST
and people come into town way too fast on that corner anyway. i'm surprised there are not more wrecks there. downtown traffic should be slower, for safety and to allow people to look around Big Lake, see what's happening. The stretch from the Y or better yet Rocky Lake to Fish Creek should be 25 mph.
The coming changes to the Big Lake Traffic Pattern
Authored by: DG on Monday, March 02 2015 @ 01:13 PM AKST
I'm posting as a resident, property, and business owner.

I know some of you that may be reading this, and know you have been in Big Lake for a lot longer than I, and I respect your views, opinions, and recollections. I settled here because of the community. That's one reason I am happy to contribute to this community resource.

As someone else already posted, change is inevitable. Adapt or Perish.

My hope for this site is to provide information to assist a better-informed public. Make your voices heard here, and in meetings. We have a calendar listing all the meetings. It's a great opportunity to meet your representatives, network, and just get involved in the community and have the chance to make yourself heard.
The coming changes to the Big Lake Traffic Pattern
Authored by: Dave on Tuesday, March 03 2015 @ 12:27 PM AKST
Millions being spent in Big Lake, whats the plan?
The coming changes to the Big Lake Traffic Pattern
Authored by: Dave on Tuesday, March 03 2015 @ 01:14 PM AKST
Article and links explain it.
The coming changes to the Big Lake Traffic Pattern
Authored by: vika on Wednesday, March 04 2015 @ 01:06 PM AKST
Just posting to say "thanks" to whoever thought up and actually put up a website for Big Lake news and events. It's about time, and you have stories I haven't see in the other media, and the frontiersman wants to charge to read an article or play a game. That sux. And I can comment on stories here which is totes awesome.
The coming changes to the Big Lake Traffic Pattern
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, March 04 2015 @ 01:22 PM AKST
This looks like it's going to be a big project. On the bright side, at least we're getting some of our tax money back for local improvements. And maybe some of the workers will spend their lunch money in town. It's a done deal, can't stop the bulldozers so we may as well think of ways to deal with it. Even after the construction is done we'll still be making adjustments. My hope is that this is all for the better.
The coming changes to the Big Lake Traffic Pattern
Authored by: kyle on Friday, March 06 2015 @ 04:25 PM AKST
I don't get it but it looks like we will
The coming changes to the Big Lake Traffic Pattern
Authored by: nunjo on Saturday, March 21 2015 @ 11:34 AM AKDT
i wish i had the talent to render some drawings of what big lake will look like, with a nice downtown. even cooler would be a walk through like realotrs use.
The coming changes to the Big Lake Traffic Pattern
Authored by: nunjo on Saturday, March 21 2015 @ 11:37 AM AKDT
and i hope theres some landscaping involved to make it all look nice. maybe sell bricks or something to raise funds for big lake community projects, or donate a plant with the donors name?
The coming changes to the Big Lake Traffic Pattern
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, May 12 2015 @ 01:53 PM AKDT
The roundabout at north shore drive will hurt businesses, create confusion in drivers, and difficulty in maneuvering commercial haulers.
Last election cycle this came up for a vote, and it was voted down, so why is the borough moving forward with this plan?
The coming changes to the Big Lake Traffic Pattern
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, May 12 2015 @ 01:59 PM AKDT
Truth: this $2million waste of money can be averted with a couple of 25mph speed limit signs. A roundabout will hurt local businesses.