Traffic flow and safety near Chillicothe High School is expected to improve this fall with the installation of a temporary traffic signal at the intersection of Missouri 190 and Hornet Drive.
Installation work began today (Monday) for the signal, which will be programmed to facilitate traffic entering and exiting Hornet Drive for about a half-hour in the morning and a half-hour in the afternoon on school days. The signal also can be programmed for high traffic volume times, such as before and after home football games.
The temporary signal will be erected on wires (rather than being permanently mounted) and will operate just like a regular signal, said Tonya Lohman, area engineer for the Missouri Department of Transportation.
MoDOT is working with the school and city to determine a long-range, permanent plan for handling traffic flow issues at the high school.
“Hopefully, this will serve for a few years until we figure a better mode of traffic control,” Lohman said.
Although considered temporary, the traffic light could be up for several years. (The traffic light on U.S. Highway 36 at Cameron, just east of I-35, is erected on wires and is considered a temporary signal).
The signal at Hornet Drive will operate like a regular traffic light and will have a green arrow for left turns.
The signal will be one of the first in MoDOT’s northwest district to have a Manual Uniform Traffic Control Device, meaning that it will have yellow flashing arrows to let motorists know they should yield to oncoming traffic before making left turns.
“We’ve had several near misses and a few accidents,” Lohman said about traffic at this location. “We know we needed to do something.”
Proposals such as installing a roundabout or building a new road north of the high school that connects with U.S. Highway 65 have been discussed but are cost prohibitive.
In an effort to consolidate traffic flow and improve safety, the city two years ago installed gates. The gates prevented motorists from crossing both lanes of traffic on Route 190 between Mohawk and Hornet Drive. The gates were effective, said Chillicothe Mayor Chuck Haney, however, they were manually operated by the police department.