Large increase in cost estimate spurs Grand Avenue traffic signal replacement study

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Spencer City Council Chambers sign

Though the city hopes to update traffic signal timing systems on Grand Avenue in the next few years, a steep increase in the expected cost has led the city to take a closer look at its options.

On Monday, the Spencer City Council voted 7-0 to have Bolton and Menk conduct a review of the signal timing and equipment for $7,000.

“The Grand Avenue signals have been on the (capital improvement plan) for several years,” City Manager Amanda Mack said. “I think we’ve annually budgeted about $90,000 for them and they’re coming to the end of their life. And when we went to update the CIP this year, (the cost) jumped from $90,000 to about $200,000.”

The city plans to “update the obsolete traffic controllers in the Grand Avenue corridor” in fiscal year 2022, an agenda item memo states. That project is part of the city’s capital improvement plan.

However, Mack said the cost estimate increase caused city staff to want to review its recommendations.

“We said, ‘Well, that seems like a big jump,’” she told the council. “And we want to make sure that if that is the case, that’s the right system to meet our traffic needs.”

The Iowa Department of Transportation is also doing its own study in the Grand Avenue corridor on possible safety improvements. Decisions made following that study could influence the city’s own decisions, according to the agenda item memo.

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