19 and Wawa traffic

Traffic flows onto U.S. 19 in Crystal River from State Road 44 near the newly opened Wawa.

Traffic congestion was always a concern with Wawa’s opening in Crystal River.

In the month it’s been open, so far so good, said City Manager Ken Frink, who will continue to monitor conditions.

However, there has been on tweak done on the traffic signal at the Intersection of State Road 44 and U.S. 19, where the newly opened Wawa is located.

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At the city’s request, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has added an additional six seconds to the left turn lane arrow for folks traveling south on U.S. 19 and turning onto State Road 44.

Frink said he noticed the vehicle queue was too long and more left-turning drivers will now be able to get through the light.

“If you were the third car in line you probably would not get through,” Frink said. “There was not enough time on the left-turn arrow.”

Frink said he’s also noticed more southbound drivers on U.S. 19 using the left-turn lane at S.R. 44 to access Wawa.

That could become an issue if these U-turners conflict with drivers turning right off S.R 44 onto U.S. 19, he said. By law, the right-turners must yield to those making a U-turn. If that gets out-of-hand, FDOT may consider installing a ‘no right-turn on red’ arrow at that intersection, he said.

“If we see an increase in traffic crashes, FDOT will step in and take additional measures,” he said.

Contact Chronicle reporter Michael D. Bates at 352-563-3205 or mbates@chronicleonline.com. To see more of his stories, visit  tinyurl.com/y6kb23vv.