Traffic study for dangerous intersection pursued

by Marianne Gasaway

City leaders have entered into an agreement with a consulting engineering firm for analysis of a Clear Lake intersection which has been the site of a number of accidents, including a fatality in the past year.

A professional services agreement with SEH, of Mason City, was approved by the City Council Monday night.  SEH will provide assistance to submit a request to the Iowa Department of Transportation for Traffic Engineering Assistance Program(TEAP) funding to conduct a traffic study at the intersection of 27th Avenue South and South 8th Street.

Last month City Councilman Bennett Smith suggested the City reach out for help in improving safety at the intersection, due to the history of crashes that have led to concerns from the public and city leaders.  Following a crash in 2020 that resulted in a fatality, and another fatal accident just south of the intersection this summer, the site gained further attention.

The TEAP program provides assistance to local governments to identify cost-effective traffic safety and operational improvements, as well as funding for implementation.  There is no local match required. TEAP will fund up to 100 hours of consultant time.

Becky Schwab, from SEH, spoke with the Council Monday and explained the firm’s study will look at speed and traffic counts from a five year period, as well as projected growth in the area. 

City Councilman Mike Callanan said he was concerned that the SEH proposal called for the traffic study to take place in February.

“Clear Lake is a very different place in February than it is from Memorial Day to Labor Day,” he told Schwab.

She explained a seasonal correction factor would be applied to the numbers collected, however Callanan urged consideration of a “resort community” versus a “regular community.”  

Schwab said rescheduling the study is a possibility, but she encouraged action soon to meet the next funding application period in August 2021.

The contract with SEH was approved for a total of $15,400.  TEAP will pay for $11,400 of that cost.

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