SH-66’s four-way stop is a go

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation will implement a four-way stop at State Highway 66 and Banner Road on Feb. 19. ODOT is deciding between a traffic signal and a roundabout at the intersection, which has been the site of several fatalities and many accidents. Photo / Chris Eversole

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation will implement a four-way stop at State Highway 66 and Banner Road in two weeks.
This is a short-term measure to improve safety at the intersection where Yukon businessman Ray Davis died Nov. 24 after a semi-truck pulled onto the highway in front of his motorcycle.
ODOT is still deciding on a long-term solution to implement later this year, the agency said in a statement.
Officials originally favored a traffic signal, but now some ODOT staff members favor a roundabout, County Commissioner Jack Stewart said.
Roundabouts are growing in popularity nationally for traffic calming.
They are effective at intersections that have somewhat of a balance of traffic from both roads leading into them, Stewart noted.
Banner Road carries a surprising amount of traffic approaching SH-66 intersection, especially from the south, he said.
“When I cross under Banner Road on I-40, I often see traffic backed up on Banner Road all the up to the interstate,” he said.
With the four-way stop that goes into effect Feb. 19, ODOT will:
• Place oversized stop signs on SH-66 eastbound and westbound
• Install red overhead blinking lights
• Narrow traffic to one lane approaching the intersection from either direction
• Operate “stop ahead” signs approaching the intersection
ODOT stated that drivers should help improve safety by putting away distractions, slowing down as drivers approach the four-way intersection and driving defensively while motorists adjust to the change in conditions.
In the wreck that killed Davis, a semi driven by Donald Biffle, 26, failed to at a stop sign on Banner Road.
Later, Biffle was charged with negligent homicide.
Davis’ daughter, Candy Schwarz, mounted a publicity campaign for improvements to the intersection.
“Something should have been done years ago,” she said.
In December, the commissioners passed a resolution agreeing to cooperate with ODOT on safety improvements to the intersection.
This was the third resolution on improvements that the commission approved in the past year and a half, noted Marc Hader, the commissioner whose district includes the intersection.
“This is our third and final attempt,” Hader said.
Canadian County agreed to pay 30% of the cost of the final improvement.
That is more than the required 20% county participation in such projects.

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