Coldwater Confusion: Drivers get stuck in new medians

Cars line up in a new left turn lane along Coldwater Road.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) New medians in the middle of Coldwater Road have been causing problems for drivers navigating the city’s north side.

“We see some folks driving over some of the medians and hitting some of the curbs out there,” The city’s traffic engineer Shan Gunawardena told NewsChannel 15. “Once you do it one time, you won’t do it again.”

Gunawardena said drivers need time to adjust to the new design.

“We’re trying to change driver behavior,” he added. “What we don’t realize is that the majority of drivers drive by instinct, not by what they see. They are used to doing something all their lives and they expect to do that all the time.”

The new medians are part of the reconstruction of Coldwater Road. The project was planned out because the road needed resurfaced. The work is also designed to improve pedestrian safety and ease flooding concerns. It was not designed to speed up the flow of traffic.

The medians sparked a conversation between hundreds of people on WANE-TV’s Facebook page.

Some comments blamed the planning, like one who called the work a “travesty” and with a convoluted messed up design. Others blamed drivers not paying attention. One of those people said drivers are paying more attention to mobile devices rather than driving.

Other comments focused on snow plows. Many people wanted to know how the trucks will navigate the medians. NewsChannel 15 asked Gunawardena about that as well.

“It’s not going to be the same truck that drives down the street, on the main line,” he explained. “We will have truck drivers that are more experienced and smaller trucks that can handle those left turn lanes.”

This is not the first time drivers struggled to navigate the work. Some have created their own shortcut near Essex Lane.

The work is expected to be complete spring 2018.