Gilbert intersection sees heightened enforcement after increase in crashes

Posted at 5:17 PM, Feb 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-06 13:21:44-05

The Gilbert Police Department have decided to keep a watchful eye on the intersection of Chandler Heights and Higley roads.

That is because the traffic unit is reporting, they have seen a 200 percent increase in crashes in that area over the last few years.

Police are now trying to take action before it gets worse by heightening enforcement around the intersection.

"We're not making it a secret," said Sgt. William Balafas said. "We want people to slow down because our primary concern is safety."

safety campaign regarding this situation has already been started on Facebook to let the community know they are out — so watch your speed.

Balafas has his officers spend a majority of their shift near the intersection because of that sharp increase.

According to statistics, in 2012 there were 12 car accidents, however, the number has more than doubled with 28 crashes in 2016.

Sergeant Balafas puts the blame on the booming Gilbert growth.

"This southern area of town is being built up so fast and we have a lot of people traveling through our town," Balafas explained. "So, it was just responsible government to get ahead of the problem before it is an actual out and out problem."

The radar guns are not the only change this town is seeing. The intersection has also already switched out the lights to have a leading left turn. Plus, they have plans to widen the roadway in the next fiscal year.

"When you're in that left turn only lane you can see down all three lanes of traffic further down the road," Balafas said. "So, you can make a better decision when making a left turn."

But, despite the heightened enforcement, many people seem to be glad these officers are slowing some speedy drivers down.

"That, 'Hey, thanks for being here,' 'Thanks for slowing people down,'" Sgt. Balafas said. "Those people who live and work, who go to school... the area... hopefully feel safer that we're out here."