Signal lights were set to flash on July 25

Although the city of Hannibal did not make last month’s signal-light changes at Third and Center streets that hasn’t prevented the public from voicing their opinions to members of the city staff.

During Thursday morning’s meeting of the city’s Traffic Committee at City Hall, Rich Dauma, representing the Street Department on the committee, said he has heard comments regarding the changes since July 25 when the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) turned the signals to flashing yellow for MO 79/Third Street and flashing red for Center Street. Stop signs were also added on both sides of Center Street.

According to Dauma, many of the people making remarks have expressed concerns regarding those who are on foot and are trying to cross Third Street safely. Dauma, however, contends there is “not that much foot traffic” using that intersection.

City Manager Jeff LaGarce, following a recent discussion with a MoDOT official, reported that the state is aware of public concerns pertaining to pedestrians using that intersection.

LaGarce wondered aloud why the same level of concern does not exist where MO 79/Third Street intersects Bird, Hill and North streets were stop signs are installed to halt the east and westbound traffic.

When the changes were implemented last month, MoDOT indicated it may remove the signals based on a final traffic study after two months. If that were to occur stop signs would be permanently installed on Center Street.

LaGarce reported that he was told by a MoDOT official that the signals would remain on flash for 30 days and then covered with “bags” for another 30 days before any permanent action occurs. 

Traffic Committee member Susan Osterhout indicated she would prefer action being taken regarding the signals sooner than later.

“It would be better off if they were turned off,” she said.

It was noted that some motorists are still stopping on MO 79/Third Street despite the fact the signal lights are flashing yellow, indicating that traffic is intended to be “free-flowing” through the Center Street intersection.

“People have got to get used to it,” said Dauma. 

In announcing the changes last month, MoDOT said after reviewing the operation of the signals and traffic patterns at that location it was determined that traffic signals were no longer needed at the intersection of MO 79/Third Street and Center Street. 

Although MoDOT had discussed with the city the possibility of making a traffic-signal change at MO 79/Third Street and Center Street, no action was taken until one of the intersection’s four signal poles was damaged last month in a crash.

Reach reporter Danny Henley at danny.henley@courierpost.com