Road to confusion – New stop signs on Gold Flat surprise drivers |

Road to confusion – New stop signs on Gold Flat surprise drivers

The two new stop signs where Gold Flat Road meets the Golden Center Freeway may have caught some residents off guard recently. However, Caltrans Project Manager Thomas Brannon said more than 90 percent of the drivers in the area are commuters and will learn to adjust to the new signs quickly.

The stop signs, which turned both sides of the overpass into all-way stops, were installed because there were a high number of accidents at the intersection, Brannon said.

Initially, there was a proposal to create a roundabout to make the intersection safer, but Nevada City officials nixed the idea for now. Signal lights were also considered for the intersection, but Brannon said he thinks there are too many roads converging there to make a stop light effective.

Furthermore, a roundabout would have come with a price tag of about $850,000, Brannon said. When officials decide what needs to be done to prevent more accidents in an area, they use a formula that weighs in the number of accidents to determine the amount that should be spent on a solution. The study done on this intersection only allotted the project with $600,000.

On the other hand, installing the stop signs cost only about $5,000 to $10,000, but may be only a quick fix solution to a more long-term problem.

Brannon said he was not aware of any accidents being caused by the installation of the stop signs.

He estimated the stop sign solution would last five years until increased area traffic could force planners to reassess the intersection and find a more long-term answer.

“I am still holding out for the roundabout,” Brannon said. He also said that in the future when they return to address the intersection’s issues, they may need to install a roundabout on the other side of the overpass, as well.

“Part of the issue with the roundabout or signal is making sure that you are not going to make traffic on the eastbound side so efficient that it would complicate things on the other side,” he said.

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