By BRADEN LAMMERS
Whether they want it or not, motorists attempting to get on Interstate 65 or the Clark Memorial Bridge might be in for another traffic stop.
Jeffersonville City Engineer Andy Crouch presented a request to the Board of Public Works Wednesday, from the Indiana Department of Transportation, to pay the electric bill for a traffic signal it plans to install at North Shore Drive and Court Avenue. The new traffic light would be on the west side of I-65 and would add a third signal in a line of traffic lights from Exit 0 to the Clark Memorial Bridge.
INDOT’s request to the city was not to seek permission to install the light, but to pay the electric bill for the new signal that it would install and maintain.
But any decision has been put on hold as city officials draw up plans ensuring INDOT uses vintage poles for the project to match downtown redevelopment efforts.
Mayor Mike Moore said he was concerned because of how close the new traffic light would be to the existing traffic lights along Court Avenue.
“There is a long line of cars during rush hour and my fear is going to be cars getting stuck in that intersection coming off of [I]-65,” he said.
But Crouch said he believes that the purpose in INDOT wanting to install the signal is to avoid traffic backups heading to either bridge crossing. He added INDOT would have to synchronize the lights in order to allow for traffic to flow and avoid vehicles from being caught in between signals.
“The problem is the left turn out of North Shore, it’ll give them a phase to get out,” he said.
And even if the city doesn’t want another traffic signal at North Shore Drive, it may not have a choice.
“It’s all part of the Ohio River Bridges Project,” Crouch said. “Honestly, I’m not sure why they are asking us to sign the contract. I’m pretty sure this is the direction they’re headed with the design.”
Redevelopment Director Rob Waiz asked if the light would be a permanent fixture once the bridges project is complete. When Crouch responded that it would be permanent, Waiz asked that the city ensure INDOT uses vintage poles in the design of the traffic signal to match the style of the poles to be installed on the opposite side of I-65.
“If we’re giving a facelift downtown, this needs to match what we’re doing here,” Moore said in agreement.
Corporation Attorney Les Merkley suggested tabling the contract in order to allow Waiz to negotiate the aesthetic specifics of the traffic light installation with INDOT.
The contract was unanimously tabled.