Biddeford police announced Thursday that there has been a traffic change at the city’s busiest intersection.

Cars traveling west on a slip lane in front of D’Angelo’s at the intersection of Routes 1 and 111 will no longer have a yield sign after state traffic engineers determined there had been too many accidents. Police said many drivers failed to yield to traffic coming from West Street, leading to more than 20 accidents in recent years.

“What people don’t understand is a yield sign means exactly that,” said police Chief Roger Beaupre. “The majority of people do yield, but some people don’t even look up to see if there’s West Street traffic coming at them.”

The yield sign has been replaced with a traffic light, and “no turn on red” signs have been posted. The light began operating Wednesday without advance notice to drivers, Beaupre said.

Five Points is technically two intersections next to each other. The intersections sit at the point where Route 1, Alfred Street, West Street and Route 111 converge. Roughly 25,000 vehicles pass through the intersection each day.

The Five Points intersection ranks 45th on the list of the 55 high-crash locations in York County for 2009 to 2011, according to the Department of Transportation. From 2007 to 2012, there were 126 accidents at the intersection. Of those accidents, 23 were attributed to failure to yield the right-of-way and 28 were caused by vehicles following too closely, according to crash data provided by the Department of Transportation.

“We recognize that this may come as a complete surprise to those who regularly travel through that slip lane heading west on Route 111, and for that reason we will issue traffic warnings over the next two weeks,” police said in a post on the department’s Facebook page. “Please be aware, however, that should you receive a warning for not stopping, you may not be so fortunate if there is a violation after the warning.”

Beaupre said he decided to authorize officers to give warnings during the first two weeks because people are used to traveling through the intersection in a certain way and may not notice the new light.

“I suspect most people will drive through without thinking about it. We need to be reasonable about the fact that people just may not notice the change,” he said. “It will be a learning curve.”

Gillian Graham can be contacted at 791-6315 or at:

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