Crews have started installing sockets in the ground for replacement of some of the city street signs destroyed by the 2011 tornado.
About 2,000 signs were affected by the storm. Efforts to replace them have been slow, according to David Hertzberg, the city’s public works director.
“Much of the funding to replace these items came from a federal highway fund, and unfortunately that agency does not offer the emergency replacement process,” he said in a statement. “It was a long and complicated process to complete, and regrettably the agency was inflexible in the course of actions that had to be followed. It did slow the progress a great deal, but we are now able to move forward in getting signs replaced.”
CDL Electric has been awarded the contract for sign replacement. There will be several steps. The first one is installing the sockets, which will hold the sign poles.
The signs are being made. This phase of the work will take up to eight weeks, Hertzberg said. Once the signs are ready, placement of them will take six to eight weeks.
“This is a large project due to the volume of replacement signs needed,” Hertzberg said. “We are happy to be moving forward in the process, because initially we faced inactive periods. Now that the city has hired a contractor, this project will make great progress. I know everyone will be pleased to see these signs resurrected and signals back in place, including our city staff.”
There have been a number of questions from the public about when the signs would be replaced because of the difficulty their absence can pose in finding a location.
“We understand the frustration people had in our community,” Hertzberg said in the statement. “We are working to complete this project as quickly as we can, and we appreciate everyone’s patience throughout this time.”
In addition to large numbers of signs being destroyed, signal lights at 17 intersections in the disaster area were affected. Signals have been erected at several of those intersections except for 26th Street at Joplin and Wall avenues. Hertzberg said those two intersections are working well with stop signs, and signals are not needed there now.
The city has put out a request for bids to install permanent signal replacements for some of those intersections and to install streetlights where those are still missing.
BIDS WILL BE OPENED Oct. 22 on the streetlight replacement project.