Have you noticed all the talk lately of our country’s crumbling infrastructure? We’ve been constantly hearing of what amounts to close to an emergency. Our roads and bridges are badly in need of repair.
And who in the Utica area hasn’t noticed the rebuild of the arterial. On October 31, 2017, Governor Cuomo announced the completion of the $66.5 million North-South Arterial Project. It was the largest Department of Transportation (DOT) project ever in Utica.
Safety enhancements include a pedestrian bridge, restyled crossings, and a 10-foot-wide, multi-use trail connecting West Utica neighborhoods. Ramp configurations are improved, Court Street is widened, and traffic signals are upgraded.
All of this for improved safety and efficiency for Utica’s drivers and pedestrians. So with this huge project here in Utica, we got thinking it would be interesting to look into safety innovations in road building. See where new infrastructure spending could save money in the long run with safer, more efficient roadways.
It turns out that the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has looked into the safety benefits of highway infrastructure investments. (One of their findings might surprise you if you’ve driven up Genesee Street in Utica recently. More on that in a bit.) Their study measured the present value of safety benefits and improvements in terms of lives saved and serious injuries prevented.
The upshot: “An investment of $146 billion in cost-effective highway infrastructure safety improvements has the potential to save an estimated 63,700 lives and prevent 353,560 serious injuries over 20 years. The present value of these safety benefits is approximately $348.4 billion.”
See the types of infrastructure safety improvements for yourself. The percentages are the part of the $348.4 billion mentioned above:
- Converting key intersections into roundabouts. Savings: nearly 30% of total safety benefits.
- Installing roadside barriers and clearing roadside objects. Savings: nearly 20% of total safety benefits.
- Adding sidewalks and signalized pedestrian crossings on the majority of roads. Savings: nearly 20% of total safety benefits.
- Installing median barriers on divided highways. Savings: 14% of total safety benefits.
- Installing shoulder and centerline rumble strips. Savings: 9% of total safety benefits.
- Paving and widening shoulders. Savings: approximately 3% of total safety benefits.
Check out the first improvement listed above: converting intersections into roundabouts. Remember the controversy over Utica’s roundabout at Oneida Street and Genesee? Turns out it’s much safer than the old intersection. And we agree.
So next time you drive Utica’s North-South Arterial, check out all the safety improvements you find. And notice how much easier it is to drive.
Until next time,
Your SZW Team
SZW Insurance is your Utica area Trusted Choice™ independent insurance agent. Call us for a quote on insurance for your home, car, business, or life at 315.792.0000. Or request a quote here.