Archive for Thursday, September 16, 2004

Lack of poles delay city signal another month

September 16, 2004

Baldwin is going to have to wait a little longer for its first traffic signal.

The installation of the traffic signal at the U.S. Highway 56 and Sixth Street intersection has been delayed once again, and is now not expected to be in place until sometime in October, according to Baldwin Utility Director Terry McKinney.

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"It's a materials problem," he said. "The hold up is the poles."

McKinney said materials, including the traffic signal poles, weren't ordered until the Kansas Department of Transportation awarded the project to a contractor, J. Warren Company of Topeka.

Once the order was made, he said, the pole manufacturer notified the contractor there would be no poles available until October.

"There's nothing we can do about it," McKinney said.

This isn't the first delay in the traffic signal project. In the spring, one of KDOT's engineers working on the traffic signal was assigned to another project, which left a new engineer to get caught up on Baldwin's project.

KDOT was also originally supposed to put the project out for bid in February, but it wasn't until April that bids were taken.

"The state just didn't go out for bids when they said they would. That's the bottom line," McKinney said. "That slowed the project down a little bit."

Even with the first delay, he said, the traffic signal was supposed to have been operational by the start of school.

"They would have had them done by the time school started if the poles had been there," he said.

With the delay from the pole manufacturer, though, the signal isn't expected to be in place until October. But McKinney said all the wiring has already been completed at the intersection, so once the poles arrive, it should only take two or three days to have a working signal.

"They've done everything they can," he said. "It's ready to go."

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 will 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.

McKinney said it's not known exactly when the signal will be in place, but the city is pushing for the first part of October.

"We have asked them to put the signals in before Maple Leaf (Festival)," he said, "but there's no guarantee."

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