New traffic signal bound for busy Washington City intersection

A traffic light display at the 2019 Dixie Regional Transportation Expo, St. George, Utah, Feb. 12, 2019 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The intersection of Telegraph Street and Washington Parkway has become increasingly busy in recent years with incoming development, prompting Washington City to make plans for a new traffic signal there.

The Washington City Council meeting over electronic means during the COVID-19 outbreak, Washington City, Utah, April 8, 2020 | Photo courtesy of Washington City, St. George News

The area around the intersection has grown to include the Sienna Hills development, several incoming apartment complexes and the popular Canyons Park.

The Washington City Council approved a bid for the installation of the new traffic signal Wednesday evening in the amount of $111,648. The winning bid went to Snow Electric of St. George.

“I know there’s a lot of interest in this one,” Mayor Ken Neilson said.

Prior to opening the project for bid at the end of March, the city purchased the signal equipment from the Utah Department of Transportation for $120,000.

The light is anticipated to be installed and operational by May.

What goes into deciding which intersection gets a traffic signal?

The location is one of many intersections across the area where locals have routinely asked for a traffic light. However, before a light can be considered for a particular location, there are certain requirements, referred to as warrants, that must be met.

According to the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices, a warrant is “a threshold condition based upon average or normal conditions that, if found to be satisfied as part of an engineering study, shall result in analysis of other traffic conditions or factors to determine whether a traffic control device or other improvement is justified.”

There are nine warrants that go into qualifying an intersection for the traffic control signal.

Not all of the warrants need to be met in order to install a signal since circumstances can differ from place to place.

Warrants 1-3 deal with the amount of traffic during certain times of day and are determined through traffic studies.

Warrant 4 tends to deal more with large pedestrian traffic volumes, according to a webinar from Spack Consulting, the consulting firm behind the Mike on Traffic blog.

A street sign notifying motorists of the crosswalk at the intersection of 700 South and 600 East in St. George, Utah, Aug. 23, 2016 | File photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Warrant 5, dealing with school crossings, is applicable where “schoolchildren cross the major street is (and) the principal reason to consider installing a traffic control signal,” according to the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices.

Warrants 6 and 8 are related because they deal with maintaining the continuity of traffic flow. Warrant 6 considers the impacts the installation of a traffic signal may have on a traffic corridor. Warrant 8 looks at the overall traffic system and not just an individual intersection.

Along with factors indicating where traffic signals can be placed, the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices also goes into detail on the spacing between signals to avoid overly disrupting traffic flow.

Warrant 7 entails crash data to be considered as justification for a traffic signal. The requirement for this is five more or “correctable crashes” in an intersection per year over a span of three years. A correctable crash is one that could be corrected by a light installation, such as a left turn. Rear-end collisions are not considered under Warrant 7.

While the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices provides guidelines for traffic engineers to follow, the warrants may not be considered equal from city to city or state to state.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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