Mitchell hoping to replace downtown traffic lights since vehicles keep running into them
The Mitchell City Council approved HR Green’s bid to design the traffic signal lights at a cost of $66,509.
MITCHELL — A pair of aging traffic signal lights at two busy Mitchell intersections that have been hit by vehicles could be replaced soon.
To avoid traffic light vs. vehicle run-ins at the First Avenue and Main Street and Seventh Avenue and Main Street intersections, the city is bringing in an engineering firm to design new traffic signals.
According to Public Works Director Joe Schroeder, the traffic signal lights at both intersections — which date back to the early 1990s — have sustained damage over the years from vehicles running into them.
“We have issues with vehicles, mainly semis, hitting and moving them,” Schroeder said of the traffic signal lights.
As part of the project, the traffic signal poles will be replaced and potentially moved to avoid semis and vehicles running into them. The ADA accessible pedestrian ramps along the sidewalk at the intersections would also be improved during the project. Push buttons for pedestrians seeking to cross the intersections would also be installed on the traffic lights.
Determining exactly where the new traffic light signals should be moved at the intersections will be included in the design phase of the project that was approved by the Mitchell City Council on Monday.
The first phase of the project will entail designing the new traffic lights. The Mitchell City Council approved HR Green’s bid to design the traffic signal lights at a cost of $66,509.
Prior to approving the design phase, council member John Doescher questioned city officials about why a $66,509 agreement to design the lights is needed considering the city is already aware of semis running into the traffic light poles.
“If we know semis are hitting these signals, I think we could figure out how and where to move them. Why do we have to pay $66,000 to tell us something we already know?” Doescher said, noting, "it just doesn’t make sense.”
In response to Doescher’s inquiry, Schroeder said state law requires the city to open bids for the design phase of the project.
“They are going to provide construction documents that a contractor can build off,” Schroeder said.
HR Green, a Sioux Falls-based engineering firm, previously designed the new traffic signal lights at the Highway 37 bypass and Minnesota Street intersection.
As for the rough project timeline, the schedule would seek to have the traffic lights installed at both intersections by September 2023.