Before any final plans are made on the Route 31 exit ramp from U.S. 33 west, a quick five-day study needs to be made. What needs to be known is how many automobiles exit U.S. 33 west onto Route 31 and immediately cross two northbound lanes to make a left turn onto Mill Road.
If you just look at the aerial photo posted on the front page of the Journal-Tribune, you should be able to see a dark vehicle that has left the ramp and is crossing the two northbound lanes to get into the turn lane for Mill Road. This is not only an unsafe act but an illegal one as well. Any vehicle making lane a change or a turn is required to signal the change 150 feet in advance. There is about 200 feet from the end of the solid line left side of the ramp to the right of the solid line in the left-turn Mill Road ramp. To make a lane change from the ramp to Mill Road with no other traffic in the area still falls short by about 100 feet.
A better solution is nearly shown in the aerial photo shown. The new ramp, which is proposed, will oppose the U.S. 33 westbound on-ramp. It should be widened to accommodate three lanes of downtown Marysville. The center lane would be a right-turn northbound onto Route 31 for vehicles, which would be turning left onto the new extension for Northwoods Drive, Mill Road and through traffic. The right lane would be for northbound “through truck” and other traffic. Because of the “off-tracking” of tractor trailers on turns the top of the ramp would slightly resemble on offset “Y” with at least a six-foot hard surface berm on the right shoulder to accommodate this “off tracking.” Signal actuators would have to be installed on the ramps with timing for turning traffic studied to determine the best settings for different times of the day. Only the northbound, right lane would be permitted to make a turn on red after a complete full stop.
Northbound and southbound turning traffic would be separate at the top of the ramp by a “V,” further designating the traffic directions. At the completion of the new ramp, the existing portion of the northbound ramp could be torn up and returned to a sod berm or returned to affected property owners.
I also highly recommend that Route 31 be a four-lane road to Amrine-Wood Road. At that point, the left lane should end and merge into the right lane. I know what some commercial drivers do when the travel lane ends and change is necessary. Many want to change early rather than be forced to slow down, yielding to other traffic so they end up blocking traffic. The speed limit between Mill Road and Amrine-Wood Road could be in the 35 to 40 mph range. With these changes, future maintenance on the roads, as well as the safety of motoroists, would be better served.
The suggestions that I propose come from an observation I have made while driving semis in four different countries since 1967. I also am a CDL instructor at a nearby community college.