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Wide line is a double line and prohibits lane changes

Can you explain to the driving public why some lanes have a wide white line painted on the pavement? It's been explained to me that it means "do not change from one lane to another." Drivers going north on Table Rock Road have one lane, and that lane lines up with the left lane when crossing Biddle and changing to a four-lane system. That leaves the northbound (right) lane free for a right turn from Biddle unless there is a truck and trailer swinging wide for the left turn from Biddle/Pine to northbound Table Rock.

— C.D., Central Point

Yours is one of many good questions I've received lately, C.D. Not being 100 percent sure regarding the wider white lines and a driver's response to them, I wrote to Jackson County Traffic Engineer Mike Kuntz for his insight. Here's what he had to say:

"I went to the MUTCD (Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices) for this one. The MUTCD is incorporated in the Vehicle Code by the Oregon Transportation Commission under 810.200. A violation of the MUTCD is a failure to obey a traffic control device:

" 'Where crossing the lane line markings with care is permitted, the lane line markings shall consist of a normal broken white line.' (This is your typical 4-inch-wide broken (or dashed) white line.

" 'Where crossing the lane line markings is discouraged, the lane line markings shall consist of a normal solid white line.' (This is a solid 4-inch white line, like on the viaduct.)

" 'Where crossing the lane line markings is prohibited, the lane line markings shall consist of two normal solid white lines.'

"This could seem confusing, but two 4-inch solid white lines is one 8-inch solid white line, often called a channelizing line," Kuntz added. A motorist is prohibited from crossing such a line, like the one the writer describes on Table Rock just north of Biddle."

Dace Cochran, a patrol sergeant with the Jackson County Sheriff's Department, writes a regular Q&A column on police issues for the Mail Tribune. Have a question for him? Write to Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501, or e-mail cochradc@jacksoncounty.org.