A double-fatal crash this week at the Walmart intersection in Durango has prompted the Colorado Department of Transportation to make changes to the traffic signal.
Early next week, CDOT plans to install left-hand turn signals for the northbound and southbound lanes on South Camino del Rio at Dominguez Drive, said Nancy Shanks, spokeswoman for CDOT in Durango.
The signals will stop oncoming traffic before cars can turn left, she said. As it is now, cars can turn left if they yield to oncoming traffic.
The Durango Police Department earlier this year identified it as one of the most dangerous intersections in the city. Drivers typically go 50 to 55 mph through the busy intersection, making it especially dangerous when accidents occur.
There have been 45 crashes at the intersection in the last 10 years, three of which involved fatalities, the city reported Friday. The fatal crashes occurred in December 2004, November 2009 and Thursdays double-fatal accident.
Updated numbers for the top 10 most dangerous intersections were not available Friday.
Since January 2001, there have been a total of 13 fatal crashes involving 16 deaths in city limits.
Shanks said the number of crashes at the Walmart intersection is on par with other similar intersections, but with higher speeds, the accidents do tend to be more severe. So were taking measures to increase the safety there.
Shanks confirmed the signals are being changed in reaction to Thursdays double-fatal crash.
Were responding to this, she said.
Gleb and Wallis Derujinsky of Durango were turning left into the Walmart from South Camino del Rio when their 1992 Subaru Legacy station wagon was T-boned by a driver in a green 1999 Dodge Ram pickup traveling southbound.
Witnesses said Wallis Derujinsky turned on a yellow light and failed to yield to oncoming traffic.
The Derujinskys died in the collision. The driver of the pickup, Alfredo Silva, was uninjured.
CDOT plans to install new signals early next week, possibly Tuesday. Electronic message boards will be placed along the road to inform drivers of the change, Shanks said.
Also, the Durango Police Department plans to increase enforcement around the intersection while drivers get used to the new signaling, Shanks said.
It will take some people by surprise, she said. We want to do what we can to make sure they are informed about the change.
The new signal will result in more congestion through the U.S. Highway 550/160 corridor, Shanks said. But CDOT plans to make improvements to all the signals along the corridor to improve traffic flow, she said.