Officials look to solve intersection congestion

A new median on North Prince Street from 21st Street to Commerce Way prevents illegal left turns from businesses. Clovis Public Works Director Harry Wang said city officials are considering ways to alleviate congestion. (CNJ staff photo: Andy DeLisle

By Tonya Fennell: CNJ staff writer

A new Prince Street median built to eliminate illegal left-hand turns is only a partial solution to traffic congestion at the city’s busiest intersection, according to the city’s public works director.

Clovis Public Works Director Harry Wang said city officials are considering several options to alleviate traffic congestion where Commerce Way and 21st Street intersect with Prince Street.

“It (median) reduces the obvious (illegal left-hand turns),” Wang said, “but it doesn’t solve the traffic problems.”

Four of the options include:

• Widening Prince and 21st streets by half a block and installing complicated signals to allow double left turns. This plan would also include removing the Commerce Way traffic signal completely.

“This would allow the intersection to handle traffic without interference,” Wang said.
n Extending the new median to Commerce Way. Wang said this option is “very affordable” but was met with resistance by Prince Street business owners when it was proposed at a Clovis City Commission meeting.

• Moving the Commerce Way traffic signal light 800 feet south on Prince Street and constructing a new road.

• Constructing an oval roundabout that would encompass the parking lots along Prince Street and Commerce Way. Wang said the roundabout option is “property acquisition expensive.”

Wang said locating funding and deciding on a feasible plan are the next steps.
According to Clovis Police Department spokesperson Lt. Patrick Whitney, prior to the completion of the median, motorists snarled traffic and caused accidents when trying to make illegal left turns from businesses located near the intersection.

“This is one of the most dangerous intersections in New Mexico,” Whitney said. “The median will eliminate T-bone crashes occurring after making an illegal left turn.”

Fast facts
What: The median consists of a line of reflective, metal poles set in a narrow corridor of concrete.
Cost: $25,000
Who built it: The New Mexico Department of Transportation
Why: To ensure
better traffic flow and progression, and
prevent illegal turns onto Prince Street.
Source: Manon Arnett, NMDOT public information officer from the district office in Roswell.