Traffic Signal at WCR7 and Erie Parkway
Town of Erie staff has been actively working to of install a traffic signal at the intersection of Weld County Road 7 (WCR7) and Erie Parkway for some time. This intersection has private property owners at all sides of the road. Due to traffic signals needing to take up space further from the road (out of the existing right-of-way) and into private property, the Town has negotiated with local property owners for the road widening. We avoid taking property through eminent domain whenever possible. While this may extend timeframes, it also avoids lengthy legal processes and associated costs.
There are many factors to consider and overcome with this particular project. These factors are outlined below:
Q: Can you give an update on the timing for this project?
A: Though we recognize the importance of this signal for safety improvements and for traffic flow, negotiations with private property owners have taken longer than anticipated. We respect the rights of individual property owners and want to work with those owners. Good news is, as of October 11 we have concluded all negotiations and will be moving forward with underground utility work as soon as we can receive bids and engage contractors. We anticipate intersection work to begin in spring with substantial completion in 2022.
Q: Have you considered using temporary (moveable) signals?
A: Temporary signals come with their own issues, and do not resolve the issues – maybe exacerbate them. Currently, temporary signals are gas-powered which would require significant staff time and cost to keep such units fueled 24/7. This would also create additional exhaust emissions at an already congested intersection. Temporary signals cannot be coordinated with other signals on this corridor - which means that each individual signal would be set at a timed interval (red every 2 minutes, for example) and would not be responsive traffic flow patterns.
Q: Have you analyzed the safety of that intersection recently?
A: The Erie Police Department and the Public Works Department examined this intersection multiple times. The four-way stop has been determined to be the safest option at this time. The Town will maintain this condition until the signal project is completed.
Q: Once permissions are gained from property owners, what are next steps?
A: Aside from road-widening issues, each traffic signal needs to be engineered for its specific location - taking into account road width, wind speed, etc. The signal poles then take roughly 6 months to be fabricated and delivered. Once utilities are moved we can begin road-widening, the Town will finalize a contract to perform all related road work and signal installation.
This project will be funded in part by a roughly $600,000 Federal grant. Timing, equipment procurement procedure, engineering, and bidding requirements all have specifications required in the grant.