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Road safety plan approved by El Paso County commissioners Tuesday

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- A new plan is in place to help El Paso County better design future road safety projects, the result of a vote Tuesday by the Board of Commissioners.

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The plan also recommends safety improvements on certain road segments where crashes have occurred; county officials provided a map of locations serving as examples of where projects have been completed, are in progress or are needed:

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The county used crash data from the Colorado Department of Transportation, Colorado Springs police, the county sheriff's office, county staff and the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments in formulating the plan; officials said that the PPACG will continue to research the data and ultimately determine which areas are the most crash-prone.

Among intersections on the list is Baptist Road/Jackson Creek Parkway/Struthers Road, just off Interstate 25 and south of Monument; some drivers say that a long hill on Baptist east of the intersection encourages speeding and can make stopping difficult, especially in icy conditions.

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However, county officials said that the above locations are not a priority list because determining a high-crash location is difficult and dependent on a variety of factors such as traffic volume, intersection or road design, conflict points and driver inattention.

Tammy Benedict works near the Baptist Road intersection and said that traffic there can be a nightmare.

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"In one 8-hour shift, I saw 12 accidents here last winter," she said. "There's a big hill on the top here, and I think people come down too fast."

Officials said that the plan gives them a blueprint for how existing projects can be applied to other projects across the county and make them better.

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"We looked at crash data and where we have lots of crashes," said project manager Victoria Chavez. "What we found is we already have projects in place or planned for those areas."

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In 2016, the county received $300,000 in federal funding to formulate the plan; work started in 2019 and was recently completed.

Some of the recommendations include applying road markings to increase driver visibility, and upgrades at pedestrian crossings that meet federal disability standards.

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Two more intersections serving as examples of needed improvements are at Burgess and Vollmer roads in Black Forest, and at Judge Orr Road/Ellicott Highway -- where a memorial still stands after a fatal crash in 2019.

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The county has relied on federal grants to pay for safety upgrades, collecting around $500 million since 2007.

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Scott Harrison

Scott is a reporter for KRDO. Learn more about Scott here.

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