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What's Driving You Crazy: Can CDOT or Douglas County put a yield sign from west 470 to Broadway?

Some drivers slow or stop while others just drive past this tiny, tight section of road
470 to Broadway
Posted at 4:51 AM, Mar 28, 2023

Alicia from Greenwood Village writes, “What’s driving you crazy? Exiting west C-470 at Broadway to go north. There isn’t a yield or continuing lane sign there. Some drivers slow or stop while others just drive past this tiny, tight section of road. Can you ask CDOT and Douglas County to put either a stop or yield sign to avoid the risk of traffic accidents?”

I did just that Alicia, and I was told that the problem with installing a sign or improving the lane markings is that the maintenance responsibility right at that spot is somewhat "fuzzy."

CDOT tells me the portion of roadway they are technically responsible for is the highway and the ramp off C-470 but only down to the crosswalk. That’s where their responsibility ends. Douglas County Public Works tells me they maintain the signalized intersection on Broadway at the 470 ramp, the pavement markings on Broadway west of the C-470 off-ramp, including the pedestrian crosswalk, and the pavement markings on Broadway.

Driving You Crazy: A yield sign is needed on the west 470 to Broadway merge

One major issue with that merge is the lane off C-470 becomes a right-turn only lane that forces drivers to make a right on eastbound County Line Road. Drivers have only about 250 feet to merge left if they want to keep going north on Broadway. When traffic is stopped at the light at County Line, a line of cars frequently backs up to that merge making it very difficult to get over.

Any time I drive through there, I am usually going right on County Line over to the Waffle House and don’t worry about merging over but when I have tried to merge, especially in heavier traffic, it is nearly impossible to get over without stopping first. CDOT engineers tell me putting in a stop sign on the free right turn lane would cause safety issues on the ramp itself due to back-ups, especially with high speed traffic exiting off the highway. They also tell me stop signs in places like this may encourage disrespect for stop signs as many drivers would not come to the required full stop when the signal facing the ramp is green.

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A yield sign would make more sense in this location, however, CDOT told me they will first have to evaluate whether this merge meets the criteria for a yield sign.

According to the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways, in Section 2B.08, yield signs may be used if engineering judgment indicates that one or more of several conditions exist including "an intersection where a special problem exists and where engineering judgment indicates the problem to be susceptible to correction by the use of the YIELD sign.” This ramp seems to fall into that category as a special problem does exist.

There is another option to make the right turn. The third lane stops at the traffic signal at Broadway and allows for a right turn. In fact, that is the preferred way for drivers to get to the left turn lane to go west on County Line Road.

Katherine Haire, principal traffic engineer of infrastructure with Douglas County’s Department of Public Works, tells me they will be installing inlay pavement markings to create an audible sound and physical feel as the vehicle passes over the inlay pavement markings.

“These inlay pavement markings will increase awareness within this merge area as well as increase the longevity of the markings on Broadway. This pavement marking improvement is anticipated to provide motorists with both a visible and physical awareness of the merging activity," she said.

She tells me the process involves cutting into the existing pavement and then placing thermoplastic tape within the grooves. That lane treatment will make the lines much longer lasting than just putting paint down on the road surface that can be scraped away by plows and worn away by tires over time.

Douglas County tells me they anticipate the installation to happen this summer when the weather is better.

Denver7 traffic anchor Jayson Luber says he has been covering Denver-metro traffic since Ben-Hur was driving a chariot. (We believe the actual number is over 25 years.) He's obsessed with letting viewers know what's happening on their drive and the best way to avoid the problems that spring up. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram or listen to his Driving You Crazy podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, Spotify or Podbean.