ANKENY, Iowa -- Three of the state's most dangerous intersections are in Ankeny, and the Iowa Department of Transportation says those intersections are in need of safety improvements.
The rankings are based on five years of data: from 2012 through 2016. Out of a list of 200 potential safety improvement locations that were identified based on the data, three of the top ten are in Ankeny.
Ankeny has seen its population more than double in the last 15 years, to just over 60,000. And as growth happens and population and traffic volume increases, traffic patterns change. According to Ankeny's Public Works Director, Mark Mueller, that might explain why the design at the intersection at Ankeny Boulevard and First Street may have made sense 10 or 15 years ago, whereas it doesn't anymore.
"The primary issue is we have two westbound left-turn lanes and only one eastbound left-turn lane, and so we`ve got a little bit of a site distance issue and an offset in those turn lanes, which, looking at the crash data, shows that the primary crashes there are from that offset nature of the left-turn lanes," said Mueller.
Mueller says the city is working on a solution.
"The good news with that intersection is next year, we are going to be improving that to make just one westbound left-turn lane," said Mueller.
But that's not the only problematic intersection in town.
Ankeny Boulevard and Southeast Magazine Road, and Ankeny Boulevard and Third Street are also on the Iowa DOT's top 10 list of intersections in need of safety improvements.
"We actually rank them based on three factors," said Steve Gent, Office of Traffic and Safety Director at Iowa DOT. "The first one is the sheer number of crashes, and then we also do crash rate, which is the number of crashes divided by volume, and then the third is the severity of the crashes."
And based on that criteria, the intersections in Ankeny need a lot of work.
"This list is not about pointing fingers at anybody," said Gent. "It`s really about getting the information out there to the cities, to the counties, and just to everybody, because the more people who care about these crashes and care about these locations, then things get done and safety improvements get made."