Red light, green light: NDDOT to install traffic lights at 32nd, 33rd and 34th streets on Highway 22 in Dickinson
A North Dakota Department of Transportation analysis of potential Highway 22 traffic following an expansion project has shown that the road will need lights that go red, yellow, green.
"When we looked at it initially, it didn't have the volumes to support it, but now the traffic volumes are continuing to go up," said Larry Gangl, DOT Dickinson district engineer.
Traffic signals will be installed at 32nd, 33rd and 34th streets Southwest where they intersect Highway 22, Gangl said. Each intersection will have four signals.
The DOT plans to make the highway five lanes from the north edge of the city to the Dunn/Stark county line. Traffic signals were not part of the original plan, but Gangl said traffic could increase to the point where the DOT will require lights.
"You look at what is being put in place, and as you can see there are a lot more buildings that are going up (along Highway 22), so you assume there is going to be more traffic generated from those buildings," he said.
The DOT did a study in December, but traffic counts were not immediately available. A 2010 study revealed about 3,600 vehicles travel on Highway 22 per day, and that number could jump to more than 5,100. Officials said that is a conservative number.
The total expansion project is estimated at $9 million and is scheduled to start this summer. The project should be completed in the fall, Gangl said.
Making left turns at the intersections has become increasingly more difficult, said Al Heiser, Stark County road superintendent. The lights should give vehicles a chance to turn on and off Highway 22.
"Last summer one time I know there was about 11 trucks west on 34th Street Southwest, and they could not get out on (Highway) 22," he said. "They just pull right out because they figure they got to get going sometime."
Cindi Ridl, who lives on 34th Street Southwest, said traffic has become "crazy," and having traffic lights would help make traveling faster as well as improve safety.
"Sometimes you can sit there for 20 minutes before you can get across on (Highway) 22," she said. "When we get a little snow, all the intersections get icy. If there are stop lights, you won't have to try and rush across when there is a little break in the
Heiser said traffic lights are a "necessary evil," adding that "nobody likes them, but they need to be there."
The signal lights may take time for drivers to get used to, but it should make the intersection safer, Heiser said.
"When they use Highway 22 now they will have to start their journey a little sooner because it will take more time," he said. "They are used to them not being there and if you are not paying attention and the light is red that could be a problem."