Along with adding stop signs on North Main, another significant traffic change has now been proposed for downtown Hannibal.

Along with adding stop signs on North Main, another significant traffic change has now been proposed for downtown Hannibal.

At the Nov. 19 meeting of the Board of Public Works Board it was mentioned that the BPW has gone to the city with a proposal that would see some of the traffic lights on Broadway removed.

“We have visited with the city engineer (Mark Rees) and city manager (Jeff LaGarce) and asked them to let us know what they think,” said Bob Stevenson, general manager of the BPW.

Rees and LaGarce note that the matter will first go before a city committee.

“I would assume that would be taken up in a very near Traffic Committee meeting and discussed thoroughly,” Rees said. “I’d like to listen to the discussion from all ends, but I could see it since that’s not a through highway any more, which I understand from talking with somebody that that used to be our way through town.”

“The traffic committee will discuss this, and make a recommendation,” said LaGarce. “We’ll first have to perform volume and turning movement counts so we understand all implications before any recommendation is made.”

One of the driving forces behind the proposal is the cost of maintaining the traffic light systems. Following the May 20 storm it cost the BPW approximately $4,500 to get all the lights functioning again. However, it’s the general upkeep cost of the signals that is the primary issue for the BPW. Heath Hall, director of operations for the BPW, said the equipment inside the various traffic cabinets is “getting old.” Stevenson said the inner workings of the Broadway traffic signals are “obsolete.”  No dollar amounts were mentioned at the meeting as to what it would cost to upgrade the traffic light systems.

Between The Wedge area and flood wall there are seven intersections along Broadway with traffic signals - Grand Avenue, 10th Street, Seventh Street, Fifth Street, Fourth Street, Third Street (Missouri 79) and Main Street.

“Lights I’ve heard mentioned (for removal) are at Fourth and Fifth streets, and the other two between Fifth Street and Grand, but leaving the Grand signal light in,” said Rees.

While the removal of four traffic light systems was mentioned during the BPW meeting, it was not specified which traffic lights would be removed. However, Stevenson said there was support at City Hall for keeping traffic lights at Fifth and Fourth streets.

It was unclear if four-way stop signs would replace the traffic lights, or if stop signs would only be added on the cross streets.

“It’s kind of preliminary to say,” said Rees. “I will be anxious to hear what law enforcement has to say.”

HPD Chief Lyndell Davis says a decision should not be made in haste.

“A decision such as this needs to be considered very carefully,” he said. “The effects on traffic will need to be studied along with other issues. I would be concerned that removing the traffic control lights would have an adverse affect on managing the traffic flow on a key downtown roadway such as Broadway.”

It’s hard to say which proposed traffic change - removing stop lights on Broadway or installing stop signs along North Main - has more support.

“I think putting stop signs on North Main is coming up with significant resistance. A lot of people have chimed in on both sides. There’s some folks who are not too happy with us considering stop signs on Main Street and I’m not even sure that will be brought up in Traffic Committee. But if it does, it should be a very lively discussion,” said Rees.