Changes at the only stoplight intersection in Allamakee County ...

Completion of the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) road improvement project for Iowa Highways 9 and 76 through Waukon with the installation this past week of new traffic signals at the only stoplight intersection in Allamakee County has brought some final changes to traffic control at that intersection more locally known as Main Street and Allamakee Street/Spring Avenue (Rossville Road). According to Iowa DOT officials, changes in lane usage and in the controlling of traffic by additional traffic lights were made in an effort to improve the flow of traffic at the intersection.

“The traffic movements through the intersection were changed to help traffic flow,” explained Iowa DOT District 2 Field Services Coordinator Pete Hjelmstad. “Before the project, when east and west traffic had a green light, left-turning traffic waiting for a gap (to make that left turn) would hold up traffic behind them wanting to go straight.

Shifting that through-traffic to the right turn lane will keep this type of delay from happening.”

An example of the change Hjelmstad describes is somewhat evident in the photo below, where vehicles had used the right lane heading east to navigate past the white pick-up truck in the left lane waiting for oncoming traffic (partially hidden) to be able to make the left turn up Allamakee Street. The right lane heading east in the below photo foreground was previously used only to turn right to head south on Spring Avenue/Rossville Road but will now also be additionally used to head straight east through the intersection, while the left lane previously used for straight ahead or left-turning traffic is now used only as a left turn lane, with both those changes being indicated on the white directional arrow signs hung adjacent to their corresponding traffic lights in the photo below. Also of note and evident in the photo is the use of a yellow flashing arrow for left turns, which appears after the green left turn arrow has expired once oncoming traffic is allowed its turn to move. The yellow flashing arrows are in use at all approaching directions of the intersection that have a left turn lane and serve as a warning to drivers wishing to make a left turn during those flashing yellow arrows to watch for oncoming traffic and proceed carefully.

Another change regarding left turns at this same intersection is the fact that traffic from each of the left turn lanes from the north and south directions are now allowed to travel simultaneously upon appearance of the solid green arrow, which is visible in the left-turn signal light near the middle of the photo at left while left-turning traffic is also advancing west on Main Street (the vehicle shown on the far right edge of the photo between the black pole and brick building). That arrow will remain green while the straight-traveling and/or right-turning traffic (silver car in foreground and white car facing forward on the right side of the photo) and both other directions of traffic remain in place with red lights, with that green arrow signal then turning to a solid yellow arrow, a solid red circle and then a flashing yellow arrow once the straight-ahead/right-turn traffic receives its green light.

An additional change specific for traffic traveling north and south through the intersection will be the allowance of right turns on red lights, obviously with caution and attention being paid to other traffic at the intersection. Signs stating “No Right Turn On Red” have been removed that have previously been in place.

Overall changes with the installation of the new traffic lights will involve all lights remaining on their consistent cycling 24 hours a day, with the lights no longer changing to “flashing” in the evenings as they have in the past. Also, the entire intersection is now monitored with an overhead video camera, most noticeable near the top of the center of the photo at left - the smaller arm hanging to the right of the larger street light arm at the top of the light pole. Each pedestrian crossing will also have a push-button control (evident near the base of the black traffic light pole in bottom right corner of photo at left). City officials warn that the “walk” signal will only appear if pedestrians push that button and won’t emerge until the optimal time for a pedestrian to cross that particular crosswalk intersection.

Officials urge drivers and pedestrians to use caution and be attentive while approaching the newly-changed intersection, as well as patience in allowing others to learn the intersection as well. As several have stated in regard to adjusting to the new traffic light and intersection changes, “At least we don’t have a round-about!” Standard photos by Joe Moses.
 

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