Archived Story

City’s traffic signalization improvements moving along

Published 9:48am Monday, August 19, 2013

During the coming days and weeks ahead, people driving through downtown Ironton will see some new intersection improvements begin to take shape.

New traffic signals at six intersections are hanging in place, although still covered, as a part of $1.5 million signalization improvement project funded by a grant from the KYOVA Interstate Planning Commission.

Mayor Rich Blankenship said the project, which has been in the works for several years, is a much need one to help beautify the city and increase safety.

“We have some signals that are held up with wire and duct tape,” Blankenship said. “It looks terrible and is unsafe, obviously.”

Construction for the project, which includes new traffic signals at the intersections of Park Avenue at Sixth, Fifth, Fourth, and Third streets and Adams Street at Second and Third streets, was 100 percent funded by the KYOVA grant,” Blankenship said.

The city paid about $20,000 to match funds for the design costs.

Lawrence County Engineer Doug Cade is overseeing the project at no cost to the city.

“This is the first time the county engineer and city have partnered on a project other than basic resurfacing,” Cade said.

In addition to new traffic lights, the improvement project includes resurfacing the intersections, painting crosswalks, pedestrian crosswalk signs and increasing the turn radii of the curbs and making the curbs comply with the American with Disabilities Act.

Another part of the project includes adding a video detection system and pan tilt zoom cameras.

The video detection system, Cade said, is essentially a high-tech motion detector that will trigger traffic lights to change if no other traffic is coming in the opposite direction.

The zoom cameras are to be used for accident reconstruction and investigations, not for catching people running red lights, Cade said.

“We really struggled with this because we don’t want the public to perceive us as Big Brother,” Cade said.

The monitors for the cameras will be housed at the Ironton Police Department.

The project may also include removing some of the older overhead street lights in downtown.

Blankenship said, once the newer decorative lights with the hanging flower baskets were added, the older overhead lights added more cost to the city’s electric bill.

“The city spends $98,000 a year on lights,” Blankenship said. “We are trying to find ways to reduce that cost.”

Some of the new traffic lights may be turned on this week once the city coordinates with AEP, Cade said.


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  • mickakers

    The cameras are not a good idea. Poor judgement on the part of someone.

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  • swampcreature

    Instead of removing street lights, city should be adding street lights along Park Avenue. Street lighting is what separates cities from villages. Park Avenue is the main entrance to the city and should be illuminated to represent that fact. It’s incredibly dark between 6th Street and U.S. 52, and it provides the wrong first impression.

    At a figure less than 100K bucks per year, street lighting is a tiny drop in the annual budget. Street lights assist in deterring criminals and showcases businesses and neighborhoods. I can think of better places to save a buck or two.

    City and its residents should also do a better job making sure ALL existing street lights are on. City pays for street lights whether the bulb is working or not. Residents can get the pole number of burned out lights and phone the repair order in themselves.

    As for the traffic cameras, I believe it will be a matter of time before it becomes a ticket machine in this struggling city. Why else would you go to the expense (and what was the exact expense?) of installing cameras? Traffic cameras are cash cows in many municipalities. The whole operation can be farmed out to private companies which will review the film and mail out tickets based on plate images.

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    • mikehaney

      Big brother with cameras? Just one more step.

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    • Digi

      I totally agree with you, except for the calling in on the lights that are out. I tried that and was told to report it to the city it’s their job to fix them. So who is actually responsible? Was AEP just dropping the dime or is it up to the city?

      (Report comment)

      • swampcreature


        I have phoned in the street lights myself in the past. I always wait to get an operator on the line. You need to give an exact location of the light pole, and a pole number might be needed if there are more than one light fixture in the area. AEP takes call back info in case its employees can not find the pole. AEP always fixed the light within a day or two.

        It’s possible AEP has changed its policies in the past year or so, but I don’t know why it would do so.

        A person can always call the mayor and ask the mayor to phone it in with AEP.

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      • swimmingupstream

        Ohio Power takes care of the main street lights; however, Ironton must take care of the decorative lights and crosswalk lights. Hope this helps.

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