Traffic light soon at new sports complex?

Published 7:12 pm Monday, March 18, 2019

The city of Vicksburg could soon be installing a traffic light at the entrance of Sports Force Park on the Mississippi on Fisher Ferry Road.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved hiring Neel-Schaffer Engineers, which in July released a traffic study indicating a traffic signal was not needed at the intersection, to prepare plans and designs for a traffic light at the park entrance.

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South Ward Alderman Alex Monsour, who is in charge of the city’s recreation department, said the light is necessary because of traffic congestion.

Monsour, who said he is at the sports complex regularly, told the board, “When it’s time for the traffic to come out, it gets pretty heavy out there.”

He said the city’s traffic department has the equipment to install the light, and he has talked to some of the county supervisors about installing it. The supervisors’ blessing is needed because the section of Fisher Ferry Road by the park entrance is in the county.

Monsour said the traffic signal “would be able to get the traffic in and out with ease at the time that it needs to, and the time it is not being used to come in and out of the park, it will be a yellow (flashing) light. It will be a helpful deal for the traffic on Fisher Ferry.

“It will be very helpful, because it will be safer, and it will help the traffic in and out.”

Performed by Neel-Schaffer at the request of county engineer Stantec, the July traffic report used a traffic count on Fisher Ferry at the complex entrance that was performed June 18.

The traffic count showed a peak morning traffic count of 501 vehicles traveling Fisher Ferry between 7 and 8 a.m. with 78 percent of the traffic moving north. The peak evening period was from 4 to 6 p.m., when 610 cars traveled the road with 65 percent moving south.

The traffic count was compared with three warrants, or conditions, necessary for a traffic signal outlined in the “Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices,” published by the federal government, which helps determine when a traffic signal is warranted by setting minimum standards that would indicate a signal may be needed.

There are nine traffic warrants in the manual, but the study looked at traffic warrants based on traffic volume periods: eight hours, four hours and peak traffic hours. The three warrants use 14 one-hour traffic intervals, starting at 7 a.m. and ending at 9 p.m.

The general rule is if one of the warrants is satisfied, Neel-Schaffer traffic engineer Mark Sorrell said at the time, “Then a traffic signal could be considered warranted. That in itself does not justify the installation of a traffic signal, but it’s the minimum criteria for installing a traffic signal.”

According to the report, the warrant analysis of the three situations did not “satisfy any of the three-vehicular volume based warrants.” The report indicated the traffic count on Fisher Ferry at the park’s entrance matched two of the 14 evaluated hours on the first warrant but none on the other two.

Sorrell said right turns were not considered in the analysis, because a right turn at a signal does not always impact the flow of traffic.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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