City holds traffic signal demonstration
City of Whitewater officials held a demonstration and open-house forum last week presenting information on the Main and Whiton streets traffic signal project.
The meeting showcased the new traffic signal control with vehicle and pedestrian indicators and push button activators with voice component.
Project Manager Luke Holman said designing of the project will continue through May 1 with contract bidding taking place in July.
“The actual construction will not happen until the fall,” he said. “Typical traffic signal jobs from a construction start usually take about two months.”
Safety enhancements are being implemented after UW-Whitewater graduate Mike Chaloupka died in September 2008 from injuries sustained after he was struck by a car while crossing Main Street in his wheelchair.
Director of Public Works Dean Fischer said the process will take a bit longer since it is a state and federal project.
“If this was a city level project, we would have it on the council floor tomorrow night,” he said. “Because we are getting federal money, we have to follow their rules and their rules are very slow.”
Holman said construction will not result in any road closings, but some activities are best done when an outside lane can be closed.
As soon as construction begins the yellow pedestrian lights at Whiton Street will be removed by the city. Some trees along the street will be removed, as well as moving the pedestrian barriers at the entrance to the Alumni Center back several feet.
“We are also going to be closing some sidewalks,” Holman said. “We’re going to have to ask students to find another way to get [to campus], maybe take the long way.”
Traffic signals are serviced once the pedestrian button is pushed, followed by a walk-time interval, then a pedestrian clearance countdown.
“The good thing is these lights are no different than what Prince and Prairie Streets are today,” Holman said.
The traffic signal for vehicles crossing Main Street off of Whiton Street will not turn green unless a vehicle is present or a pedestrian pushes the walk button.
“The street is really going to become a very distinct four-way versus what it looks like now which is more of a three-way intersection with a driveway,” Fischer said.
The project is estimated to cost $138,000. Ninety percent of the project will be paid for by state and federal government. The city of Whitewater will cover the remaining 10 percent and any additional costs.