Opinions differ over how best to fix dangerous intersection

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Changes are on the way for an intersection with a high rate of traffic accidents, but one neighbor said she's concerned it won't be enough.

The Indiana Department of Transportation will reconfigure a section of State Road 46, also known as 3rd Street, on the east side of Bloomington. The changes come after a 2018 traffic study of the area.

"There was a pattern of right angle crashes and rear end crashes and a lot of those were related to people waiting in the left lane to turn left across traffic," INDOT Media Relations Director Natalie Garrett said.

Garrett said that INDOT was already planning a repaving of the area to begin this April. In addition to that project, crews will reconfigure the road between Clarizz Blvd and State Road 446. Right now, the road is two lanes in both directions. The new configuration will lower traffic to one lane in both directions with dedicated left turn lanes, as well as bike lanes.

Linda Howard lives at the corner of SR 46 and South Park Ridge Road, where most of the accidents are taking place. She has witnessed dozens of accidents in the past six years.

"I just go, 'Here we go again,' and I look out my window," Howard said.

In one case, Howard said she was walking her dog along the road when a driver was hit as he turned onto State Road 46, sending him airborne and into a nearby tree.

"I'm amazed someone hasn't been killed," Howard said.

Howard took her concerns to INDOT and other state leaders years ago. She pushed for a stoplight at the intersection, and contended that a turn lane might not be enough.

"We've got to prevent somebody being killed, that's the bottom line here," Howard said.

Bloomington Police ran the numbers for FOX59 and found 32 crashes in the last five years, an average of about six crashes a year.

Garrett said INDOT will monitor the intersection after the reconfiguration takes place to ensure it is helping cut down on accidents. Construction is expected to be completed in August.

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