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Traffic measures to be implemented until summer break

Columbia Public Works completed a traffic pattern study last week following the Scott Boulevard closure on Chapel Hill Road and Forum Boulevard.

After evaluating the traffic control measures on March 19 and 20th, CPW has decided to continue them until local schools and universities break for the summer.

The measures are being implemented to help with peak traffic flow during the closure of Scott Boulevard at Hinkson Creek.

That means until many schools’ summer vacation, there will be a right-in/right-out at the Missouri Athletic Center on Forum at Hinkson Creek each weekday from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.

The intersections of Chapel Hill and Limerick, and Chapel Hill at Fairview Rd. will be regulated each week day by Columbia Police officers from 4 to 6:00 p.m.

New left turn lanes will be installed for east and westbound traffic on Chapel Hill at Fairview.

Southbound Forum traffic needing to enter the Missouri Athletic Center when the temporary traffic control measures are in place is encouraged to make a safe and lawful U-turn at Forum and Shoreside.

The results from the tests last week were promising.

Travel times were improved by an average of 2 minutes and 32 seconds at the right in/out at the Missouri Athletic Center by allowing southbound traffic to continuously flow .

Northbound Forum traffic improved by an average of 1 minute and 32 seconds.

Keeping traffic moving southbound greatly reduced traffic backing up on Forum into or past the intersection of Chapel Hill, which has been a heavily used alternate route during the Scott Blvd. closure.

Using manual traffic control at Limerick and Fairview improved westbound traffic flow by an average of 4 minutes and 8 seconds.

Eastbound traffic was slowed by 1 minute, 1 second. This was concluded to be largely due to police officers having to stop eastbound traffic for cars wanting to turn north on Fairview while they allowed westbound traffic to move through the intersection.

Public Works will install left turn lanes for both west and eastbound traffic on Chapel Hill for left turns off of Chapel Hill onto Fairview.

This will allow cars wishing to turn left to stack in the left turn areas and at the same time allow continuous east and westbound traffic to flow on Chapel Hill. Officers will release left-turn traffic on a regular and controlled basis.

The spring break traffic tests revealed that southbound traffic averaged 9 minutes on Forum Blvd., which is an average of 1 minute longer than when the temporary traffic control measures were in place.

On Chapel Hill Road, westbound traffic flowed an average of 1 minute faster than when police officers controlled traffic.

CPW concluded that when schools and universities are not in session, the temporary traffic measures won’t be needed on Forum or Chapel Hill.

Columbia Public Works worked closely with Columbia Police to establish this traffic control plan.

Part of the planning process was to ensure that officers assigned to this traffic detail are off duty officers.

The number of scheduled shift patrol officers will not be reduced for normal law enforcement operations and needs.

The temporary measures will be put back into place on March 31, and last until Columbia Public Schools are out for the summer.

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