Archive for Thursday, November 4, 2004

First traffic signal in place, operational on highway

November 4, 2004

The wait is over.

After months of delays, Baldwin's first traffic signal is installed and working.

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The signal was installed last Wednesday at the U.S. Highway 56 and Sixth Street intersection, but wasn't fully operational until just Tuesday.

Mayor Ken Hayes said the Kansas Department of Transportation kept the light flashing yellow for east and westbound traffic and red for north and southbound traffic for nearly a week after installing it in an attempt to get drivers accustomed to the change.

"The light is controlled by the state," he said. "There are a certain amount of days that it must be in warning mode."

KDOT made the decision to install the signal because of the heavy traffic during the peak morning hours, which the department discovered following a 24-hour volume count in October 2002.

The traffic signal cost approximately $130,000. The city is responsible for 10 percent -- around $13,000 -- of the cost of the signal's construction and inspection. KDOT will fund the rest of the project.

The signal was supposed to have been operational before the start of school, but several delays, including waiting for the arrival of the poles, pushed the installation back to the end of October.

But once the polls arrived, City Administrator Jeff Dingman said, it took the contractor, J. Warren Company of Topeka, only a short time to get the signal in place.

"They had all the pieces except the polls ready to go," Dingman said.

He said he knows it's been a long wait for the signal, and people are anxious to see whether it will help traffic congestion at the intersection.

Dingman said he believes traffic problems in the morning and afternoon should be taken care of with the new signal.

"I don't think it can do anything but help," he said.

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