Question of what to do with two stoplights at Church St. intersections remains unanswered

By Gary Scott on July 17, 2016 at 8:00am

A plan to put stop signs at two busy Jacksonville intersections is not moving as quickly as it first appeared it might.

In February, Jacksonville Street Department officials told City Council members they’d remove flashing red lights at College Avenue and Church Street, as well as State and Church Streets. But that hasn’t happened, and the topic was brought up at the most recent City Council meeting last week.

Jacksonville Mayor Andy Ezard explains.

“Superintendent Les Ballinger and I have spoken about this and his staff is gearing up to remove the stoplights. Before we do that though, I wanted to do my due diligence, and with Les’ suggestion to go back to council and make sure everybody’s on-board, because I know there was some discussion that some were on the fence on this. And for safety purposes, we just felt that we should again touch base with the council before Les starts removing those stoplights,” explains Ezard.

Aldermen decided to discuss the matter at a Planning and Public Works Committee meeting tomorrow.

Jim Burke of Hutchison Engineering predicted last week if the city were to put in stop signs only at those intersections, there would be a spike in accidents. That’s something with which Ballinger agrees.

“I think that there needs to be some kind of warning signal there, such as a flashing light. And I do know that our last fatality was there, at one of those intersections, about a year, year-and-a-half ago,” notes Ballinger.

As for the financial impact, aldermen were told last week that it costs about $1-thousand annually in electricity for the current signals. There are no parts to replace them, so once the signals die, they need to be replaced.

Burke suggested the city purchase a single-light LED fixture.