The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

February 26, 2014

Miami officials face funding issue with aging traffic lights

MIAMI, Okla. — City officials noted this week that the Oklahoma Department of Transportation will not be providing a matching grant for new traffic lights at four intersections in Miami.

After hearing from Tyler Cline, assistant public works director, that a new traffic light system, with pedestrian lights, could cost as much as $200,000 per intersection, the City Council approved a resolution Tuesday night to vote at a later date to remove the stoplights at three of the intersections.

Mayor Rudy Schultz said he hopes that a delay in the council vote will spur public comments.

“I expect comments and feedback from the public from both sides, and we want that,” Schultz said.

Cline said he expects the cost to be the major factor with the public.

Public works officials say traffic lights at Fifth and Main streets, Steve Owens Boulevard and A Street, and Steve Owens Boulevard and Main Street have old traffic light systems that are difficult to repair.

City Manager Jeff Bishop said many of the lights required repair work in the past year.

“A lot of them are antiquated, and we had a heck of a time locating parts to fix them during the last stretch of bad weather,” Bishop said. “That’s why we are looking into our options.”

A feasibility study was performed by members of the Public Works Department that included traffic counts, turn direction and vehicle types.

Cline explained to the council during Tuesday night’s meeting why ODOT declined the grant.

“Their ruling says that the traffic counts did not necessitate funding for a light,” Cline said. “If we fix or change the lights out completely, it will come out of the city’s pocket. They gave us suggestions and options, but the funding will not come from them.”

Public works officials also reported Tuesday night that they project a late spring start for the next phase of the street repair project.

Cline said he expects $1.7 million to $1.8 million to be left after completion of phase 3, which will be used in the upcoming phase.

The streets up for repair in the next phase are B.J. Tunnell Boulevard to D Street Northeast, Coleman Alley, N Street Northwest from B.J. Tunnell Boulevard past 10th Avenue, 13th Avenue Northeast from E Street to Main Street, and I Street Northwest from Ninth Avenue to 12th Avenue.

“We will do a walk-through with the engineering firm to finalize any changes before sending the projects out for bidding,” Cline said.

Street work

PUBLIC WORKS OFFICIALS expect the next phase of the Miami street repair project to take 120 days to complete.

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