City to turn up safety at signals
How many times have you almost been T-boned while trying to make a left turn from Giddings Street onto Main Street? How many times have you narrowly avoided a near head-on collision trying to make a left turn from County Center Drive onto Walnut Avenue?
Those dangerous intersections and three others will be much safer later this year following a recent decision by the Visalia City Council. At its Jan. 19 meeting, the City Council awarded a contract with A-C Electric Company Inc. of Visalia for $1.1 million to add left turn signals at the following intersections: Chinowth Street at Walnut Avenue; County Center Drive at Walnut Avenue; Giddings Street and Tulare Avenue; Giddings Street at Main Street; and Jacob Street at Murray Avenue. The project will also include making improvements by reconstructing pedestrian ramps for ADA compliance.
All five signals were identified for left turn improvements to minimize the number of collisions at each intersection. The project will be paid for through a variety of funding sources including $374,000 in Measure R funds, the half cent transportation sales tax approved by county voters, $35,000 in Gas Tax and $118,000 in signal upgrades and $180,000 in Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) grants.
The City applied for an HSIP grant in July 2012 and was awarded the grant in November for the design and construction of the signals. The project construction costs have continued to climb $707,000 over the original budget of $811,300 to create ADA-compliant pedestrian ramps and replace the existing traffic signal poles which cannot be reused.