A traffic light in downtown Clinton is going by the wayside, as the state has deemed it is not warranted and city officials do not want to expend the nearly $60,000 it would take to keep it.
While that much was essentially known last year, the N.C. Department of Transportation (DOT) has now begun the process of removing the traffic signal at the intersection of Wall and West Elizabeth streets and replacing it with a four-way stop. The beginning of that conversion was underway Wednesday, with four stop signs driven into the pavement by members of the DOT’s Traffic Division.
Flashing red lights will continue for the next 30 days until the lights are officially removed.
In October 2014, DOT sent city officials a letter stating that the department had evaluated the intersection of Wall Street and West Elizabeth Street because the existing traffic signal was due for an upgrade due to outdated equipment. DOT’s analysis of the intersection indicated that it no longer warranted a traffic signal, and traffic officials proposed the four-way stop.
The issue was presented as a walk-on item at the end of the City Council’s meeting that month.
At that time, City Manager Shawn Purvis relayed the DOT’s letter to Council members and stated that, based on the findings and in effort to minimize unnecessary maintenance cost, the department was pursuing the removal of the traffic signal at the intersection. DOT provided the city an option to keep the signal, but requested that documentation be provided within the month, by Nov. 3, 2014, if local officials were interested in funding the upgrade for the light to remain.
Retaining the traffic signal came with a price tag of $58,500.
“At the October City Council meeting, the City Council discussed the signal and NCDOT’s intent to remove the signal unless the city funded the required upgrade,” Purvis stated in a prepared statement. “While the consensus of the City Council was to retain the traffic signal, the city did not feel it could commit the necessary funds to do so.”
According to the city, the entire process to remove the signal will take 90 days to ensure adequate safety and awareness. The traffic signals will flash red in all directions for 30 days while proper signage is installed, a process that is already happening. The signals will then be covered before being completely removed around Nov. 9, city officials said.
Reach staff writer Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.