In February, a mother’s unborn child and her husband were killed in an accident, and two weeks later two more kids were killed at the same intersection.
VICTORVILLE, Calif. (VVNG.com) During Tuesday night’s Victorville city council meeting, City Manager Doug Robertson proposed to install a much-needed light at the intersection of Mojave Drive and Amethyst Road.
Following a series of fatal traffic collision within a short time span, many residents voiced their concerns to the city council and even started a change.org petition to have a traffic signal installed at the intersection. The petition started by Victorville resident Rebecca Gonzales-Leon has received over 900 signatures.
“Are we doing this in response to the accidents? We are doing this in response to the effects of the accidents. Yes, our staff are humans, and we obviously see what happened. But were not doing it because of the accidents. We’re doing it because it now meets warrants that it didn’t previously,” said Robertson.
Before any traffic signal can be installed, there’s a series of complicated studies conducted that are required by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
The approval of a traffic signal is based on an analysis of nine warrants. Those warrants include an engineering study of traffic conditions, pedestrian characteristics, and physical characteristics of the location to determine whether installation of a traffic control signal is justified at a particular location.
Approximately two years ago the City of Victorville conducted a series of traffic studies along Mojave Drive and determined Amethyst and Mojave Drive did not meet any warrants, but East Trail and Mojave Drive did.
The City applied and received a federal grant for the intersection of East Trail and Mojave Drive, and when a grant is used the light can take up to two years to install.
Robertson said the city couldn’t just put a signal light up, or the city would then assume risk and liability for a light that is unnecessary based on the traffic counts.
“Following a couple of major accidents, we took another look about two weeks ago at the traffic counts and the accidents,” stated Doug Robertson.
A new study was done on March 7th after council listened to feedback from the community and concluded the intersection now meets 3 of the 9 warrants.
“Although it’s very rare for an intersection to meet warrants based on accidents. There’s a bit of a misunderstanding by people that there has to be a certain amount of deaths or something along those lines. That’s certainly not the way that it works,” stated Robertson.
The city plans to adjust the budget and will use city funds to pay for the light. They will also attempt to negotiate an expansion of the contract with a contractor currently working on installing another light across town.
Robertson elaborated that if things move as quickly as they hope, the new traffic signal light at Amethyst will likely be installed before the one at East Trail and Mojave since this one won’t be federally funded.
It normally takes 6-12 months for the signal poles to be custom ordered. “We got lucky in this case that another signal that had already been purchased near 395 where the Lowe’s was going to go in. The developer of that project had already purchased those signal poles. It just so happens that because it’s essentially the same intersection, very similar two-roads coming together, those signal poles will actually fit the Mojave intersection as well.”
The cost of a traffic signal is estimated to be about $350-450,000 which would be funded from either measure I or a gas tax.
According to Doug Robertson, if all goes well this item would be placed on the agenda to move forward and the new signal would be installed by early summer of 2017.