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Case Study 5

Preliminary Design Stage Audit:
Route 22/Spring Street Intersection – Upgrade; Westbrook, Maine

The Maine Department of Transportation (Maine DOT) was implementing a project to widen the Route 22/Spring Street intersection in the Town of Westbrook, Maine, to provide additional through lanes as well as dedicated left-turn lanes. The existing intersection was experiencing capacity issues and was identified as a high-crash location by the Maine DOT. To address the safety issues, the engineers conducted a Road Safety Audit (RSA).

The project was in the preliminary stage of design. Six people participated on the audit team representing four different divisions of the Maine DOT. This included two traffic engineers,one division engineer, one assistant engineer, one representative from the Regional Program, and one representative from Traffic Engineering.

Consistent with many other RSAs, the audit team conducted a 2-hour field visit and reviewed preliminary plans and crash data. However, a unique element of this report is that it specifically stated the following “The audit was conducted based on the assumptions that the existing highway was built to the design standards at the time of construction, the plans for the proposed improvements were according to current design standards, the utilities would be moved outside of the clear zone, the pedestrian and bicycle traffic had been considered, the capacity issues had been considered, and all traffic signals and signing would be
consistent with the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices.” The audit team felt it would be useful to outline the context and considerations for the audit.

Diagram of a intersection design drawing.

Based on the team's review, the RSA identified 11 safety issues whose correction ranged from minor modifications such as providing wider median islands to accommodate signs, to more extensive changes such as redesigning the locations
of accesses and minor street intersections in the vicinity of the Route 22/Spring Street intersection. The RSA report was three pages long.

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