CAMP ZAMA, Japan (Sept. 22, 2021) – Remodeling is scheduled to begin this month on a unique intersection on Camp Zama in an effort to eliminate confusion and increase driver safety, a Directorate of Public Works representative said.
The intersection is made by two offset T-junctions that meet at Sendai Street and Ishinomaki Avenue. The roads meet in such a way that the east-to-west Sendai Street crossing is a straight line, but passing through the north-to-south Ishinomaki Avenue crossing requires making two small 90-degree turns. (See graphic of overhead view in photo slideshow.)
This configuration is known to create confusion regarding driver right-of-way. A public service announcement was even released in December 2019 demonstrating proper turn signal use at the intersection. These issues, coupled with the fact that the intersection receives a high volume of traffic, make it a common site for vehicle accidents, said Patrick Brodsky, the chief of DPW’s Engineering Contract Management Branch.
The 10-month, four-phase construction process will create a traditional four-way intersection that will hopefully reduce driver confusion and decrease accidents, continued Brodsky.
“Our goal is to improve the layout of the intersection for safety and minimize the impacts to the community during the construction,” Brodsky said. “We will do all that we can to address concerns while also completing the project on time.”
Each of the four construction phases will result in different impacts to traffic, Brodsky said. During Phase 1, scheduled from Sept. 27 through March 2022, a section in front of the Area Transportation Office warehouse and the Central Issue Facility will be cordoned off to build the new road section, while leaving the existing road open to traffic. The only impact to drivers will be the closing of the ATO and CIF parking areas.
During Phase 2, scheduled from March through April 2022, the portion of Ishinomaki Avenue next to the BG Sams U.S. Army Health Clinic parking lot will be closed to through-traffic in order to build out and straighten the street.
During Phase 3, scheduled from April through June 2022, more building out will be done in front of the clinic to remove a section of Ishinomaki Avenue and replace it with sod. There will be no impacts to traffic during this phase.
And finally, during the completion of Phase 4, scheduled from June through to July 2022, the construction will require partial lane closures at the intersection. This will mean through-traffic will be allowed in only in one direction for part of the construction, and then the other direction as construction concludes on the other side.
Once the road sections are closed during their respective phase, they will remain closed until work is completed. All construction work will take place during daytime hours, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Brodsky said.
Brodsky said he understands the frustration and inconvenience that comes with extended road closures. But with a construction project of this size and scope, the closures are simply unavoidable, he said.
Community members who have questions or would like more information about the project can call 263-4097.