Hannibal police reported last week that 2012 marked the fifth consecutive year that traffic crashes had declined in the city. Among the factors cited by Chief Lyndell Davis were the three red-light camera systems now in operation along the U.S. 61 corridor.
A fourth camera system at Pleasant Street/West Ely Road has yet to be re-installed since improvements were made at the intersection last year. Davis says the need for a camera system in that location has not diminished.
“Based on MoDOT figures, you’re looking at almost 10 million vehicles going up and down that highway a year,” said the chief. “Even with the improvements MoDOT has done and I think it has made a major improvement, you still have a huge volume of traffic that goes through that highly congested intersection. Anything that we can do to keep that under control and make sure that we keep the number of accidents and reckless driving down to a minimum, that’s what we’re going to do.”
A lack of space near the highway for the camera equipment is the primary hang-up. Davis says efforts are ongoing to secure the necessary easements.
“It’s a matter of securing a very small piece of land,” he said.
Typically the cameras, which are owned by Redflex Traffic Systems Inc., are installed to capture images of red light violators traveling northbound and southbound on U.S. 61. A possible option is being considered if easement negotiations fail to gain traction.
“What we’ve been trying to do is get it all done at one time. If there is a further delay, much past spring, we’ll probably just see if Redflex will put in one side while we’re waiting on the other side,” said Davis. “Then when we get into the warmer months, when the influx of traffic really goes up, hopefully we can get back to normal.”
Davis is optimistic that something can be worked out to restore the camera system, which first went into operation in that location on Dec. 14, 2007.
“While that is a work in progress I would say right now I am about 90 percent sure it will eventually get in there,” he said.