City to spend $107,000 to study 39 intersections

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 23, 2002

[01/23/02]A traffic study of Vicksburg’s major thoroughfares could result in making it easier for motorists to get around town if ways are found to improve flow.

The Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen on Tuesday agreed to pay Neel-Schaffer Inc., $107,000 to examine 39 intersections and turn in a report in six months. The document will recommend which traffic signals are impeding traffic and should be removed or changed.

“We’re trying to speed up our corridors and remove some of the unnecessary traffic lights,” said Mayor Laurence Leyens.

James “Bubba” Rainer, head of the city’s public works division, said the engineering firm will evaluate the selected intersections based on traffic counts conducted over a 12-hour period. He said the count will be used to make recommendations regarding traffic signals, turning lanes or the design of the intersection.

Most of the changes recommended in the final report will be done by the city’s traffic department, not outside contractors, the officials said.

Rainer, who proposed the study, said that there are many traffic signals that have been put up in the city without considering if they were needed.

“Over several years there have been a lot of signals that have been put up just because somebody asked,” Rainer said.

One example Rainer gave was at China and Cherry streets where a two-way stop was changed to a traffic signal after repeated requests from residents. The intersection was later changed to a four-way stop after people complained about the light.

Since then, it was returned to a two-way stop, Rainer said.

“Basically, there’s just not enough traffic to warrant a four-way stop,” Rainer said.

He said that basing traffic controls at intersections on the report from Neel-Schaffer will remove politics from the decision and improve overall traffic flow.

In other matters the board:

Adopted an ordinance to rezone Halls Ferry School property from R-2 single family residential to C-4 general commercial.

Presented a certificate of recognition to police Chief Tommy Moffett.

Received sealed bids for reconstruction on Pearl Street and repairs to the Washington Street storm-water tunnel.

Approved a $50 ad for the Thirteenth Annual Martin Luther King Jr., breakfast.

Approved a $600 ad for the 175th Annual Council of the Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi meeting in Vicksburg Feb. 1.

Approved restructuring of the Convention Center Advisory Board.

Authorized spending about $4,000 to remodel the interior office space at the Vicksburg Convention Center.

Approved an interlocal agreement with the Culkin Fire Protection District for the city fire department to answer fire calls at River Region Medical Center on U.S. 61 North.

Approved a request by the Mississippi Girl Scout Council for a parade downtown at 9 a.m. March 9.

Authorized the City Clerk to advertise for sealed bids for cleaning a dump site on Webb Street, repaving Confederate Avenue and Mission 66, purchasing a street sweeper, work cart and dump box, cathodic protection supplies and sand, gravel and stone material.

Approved the claims docket.

The city board will meet again at 10 a.m. Friday at City Hall Annex.