Ever drive up to an intersection with weird angles and struggle to see everything coming at you? Ever been caught off-guard when a bicyclist or a pedestrian appeared out of nowhere and you barely avoided hitting him?
Scenarios like that — and worse — are the reason the Ada County Highway District is considering a new alignment at the corner of Pierce Park Lane and State Street. The way that intersection is configured now, Pierce Park hits State at about a 50-degree angle, making it hard for drivers turning on to State Street to see bicyclists, pedestrians and even other cars coming from the west.
Ideally, intersections have 90-degree angles, giving drivers clean lines of sight, said Joseph Tate, who’s managing the Pierce Park-State project for the highway district. That’s why the district’s latest proposal is to re-align a couple of hundred feet of the south end of Pierce Park.
The re-alignment would put Pierce Park at an 82-degree angle to State Street — not quite ideal but a lot closer than it is now.
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There would be at least one casualty, though. A Jackson’s convenience store with Chevron gas pumps on the northwest corner would have to be demolished because Pierce Park would run through it.
Tate said the highway district hasn’t started negotiations to buy the Chevron property. That would happen in the next couple of years. The district might have to acquire other properties, too, but that decision hasn’t been made, Tate said.
ACHD scheduled an open house on the proposed reworking of the Pierce Park-State intersection at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 1, at Castle Hills Church of the Nazarene, 5707 Castle Dr.
In addition to the Pierce Park re-alignment, the project would widen State Street to three travel lanes in each direction. A raised median would replace the center turn lane between Hertford Way and Ellens Ferry Drive — about three-fifths of a mile. Breaks in the median would allow U-turns or left turns at Hertford, Pierce Park and Ellens Ferry.
The project is expected to cost about $5 million, spokeswoman Nicole DuBois said. The district expects construction to take place in 2020 or 2021.
It is part of an effort to remake State Street between 23rd Street and Glenwood Street.
The district is rebuilding the intersections at Veterans Memorial Parkway, Collister Drive, Pierce Park and Glenwood first.
The Veterans project is under construction and scheduled for completion this fall.
Construction would re-align Collister Drive on the north side of State Street so that it runs west of Terry’s State Street Saloon. That project is scheduled for completion late next year or early 2020.
Glenwood would be the last intersection project. It has not been scheduled.
After the intersections are done, the district plans to widen the 4-mile stretch of State Street between 23rd and Glenwood to seven lanes from five now. All of this work is expected to cost about $42 million and take more than a decade to complete.