Discussions regarding the possible removal of some Broadway traffic signals resumed during the recent meeting of the Hannibal Traffic Committee.
Discussions regarding the possible removal of some Broadway traffic signals resumed during the recent meeting of the Hannibal Traffic Committee. The latest inquiry was again made by a representative of the Board of Public Works – Board President Randy Park.
Park repeated a request first made last year, that committee members consider eliminating traffic signals at “one or two intersections” on Broadway.
For the BPW, the issue is a matter of finances. In December, the last time the matter was brought before the Traffic Committee, Ray Luhring of the BPW reported the cost to purchase the materials necessary to redo the signals at 10th Street would run around $18,000. The expense for upgrading the signals at Seventh Street is estimated at $10,000. Luhring added that the total cost of upgrading those signals, the inner workings of which were described as "obsolete," could be higher if wiring beneath Broadway at those intersections had to be replaced.
Park proposed that if for example the signals were eliminated from Seventh Street, they could be held in reserve for the traffic light system at 10th Street.
“It would extend the life of the equipment,” he said.
Councilman Barry Louderman suggested that some of the signals have only been in place since the late ‘70s or early ‘80s, when some highway funds left over from another project were used to pay for signals at Fourth, Fifth and Seventh streets.
“The reasons they were placed there may not exist any longer,” suggested City Manager Jeff LaGarce.
There was some discussion of darkening some of the signals on a trial basis.
“If we tried something different I’d want to leave the infrastructure,” said Fire Chief Bill Madore.
Before anything happens, Hannibal police will conduct a traffic study. That study was delayed until now when Broadway traffic volume is greatest.
“We want to look at the traffic count and other specific methodology,” said LaGarce. “It will be an objective study.”
As he did in December, HPD’s Lt. John Zerbonia expressed reservations concerning the removal of any traffic signals.
“In the summer Broadway becomes a race track. If you take out some signals, the racing complaints will only increase along with the risk of accidents,” he said. “We don’t have the manpower to put someone down there to take care of it.”
Zerbonia added if ongoing efforts to revitalize downtown Hannibal are successful, “we could be wanting them (traffic signals) back to control traffic.”
“I think we’ll be taking a step backward if we take them out,” said Zerbonia.