New traffic signals go up today, old questions about need linger
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Shane Erickson, an employee with the Emmetsburg-based company KWS Inc., positions a street sign on a new signal arm being installed at the intersection of West Street and U.S. Highway 30 this morning. Winds from a storm on April 27 damaged the signal device that controls east bound traffic, knocking the light into the roadway. Since the storm stop signs have been used at all four points of the intersection, but Erickson said they anticipated the new lights will be operational today. Daily Times Herald photos by Jeff Storjohann.
Carroll City officials this morning said new traffic signals at U.S. 30 and West Street were expected to be operational today — four months after weather knocked them out and forced the city to use stop signs.
KWS Inc. of Emmetsburg started the project early this morning.
“They’re still putting it up,” Krauel said.
Krauel says wind was the likely culprit for the downing of a signal at West Street and U.S. 30 Friday, April 27, at about 4 p.m.
He said winds apparently cracked the vertical signal support enough to knock down the horizontal structure.
No accidents or injuries were reported in connection with the incident.
“We didn’t see it come down,” Krauel said. “In all likelihood it just kind of dipped down.”
Carroll police were on the scene after the report and directed traffic as the city installed temporary stop signs and set the remaining vertical signals to flashing red — creating a four-way stop at the intersection.
Krauel said total cost of the signal replacement will be about $10,000. Insurance was not expected to cover any of the cost.
The reason for the four-month period between the accident and placement of new signals has to do with supply, Krauel said.
“It’s the manufacturer of the pole,” Krauel said. “They are not manufactured until they are ordered. It’s not a shelf item.”
There are 10 intersections in Carroll controlled with traffic signals.
During the process, Krauel said city officials resurrected a long-running discussion about whether all signals in Carroll are needed.
A 2005 traffic-signal analysis contracted by the city showed that the signals along U.S. 30 at Quint Avenue, West Street, Adams Street and Court Street are not necessary for safety reasons based on traffic counts and other factors, Krauel said.
“One of the options to look at is updating that,” Krauel said.
He said the matter could come before the Carroll City Council this Saturday during a strategic planning session on a host of issues beginning at 8 a.m. at Sam & Louie’s restaurant.
The 2005 study occurred when Walmart was still in the central business district at what is now Badding Construction’s Depot Business Center.
Carroll Police Chief Jeff Cayler has said it makes sense to remove all or some of the four traffic signals that don’t meet warrants.
Over his three decades of working in law enforcement in Carroll, Cayler has observed times when traffic “gums up” on U.S. 30.
“Sometimes we have traffic at noon backed up over intersections,” Cayler said.
After the recent problem at West Street and U.S. 30 city officials evaluated the condition of other signals in Carroll and found no cracks in the metal or anything else alarming, Krauel said.
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