JACKSONVILLE, TX - The traffic light at the intersection of Nacogdoches and Jackson streets (U.S. Highway 69), which has been offline since being knocked down during a one-vehicle accident on May 28, will be permanently removed rather than replaced.
A representative from the Texas Department of Transportation addressed the Jacksonville City Council Tuesday night regarding the agency's recent decision to scrap the traffic light instead of repairing the costly and outdated fixture.
Mayor Robert Haberle said the council was unanimously in favor of TxDOT's decision to kill the traffic signals at that location.
"We discussed it with the city's public safety personnel, and we all agreed that this is probably the best course of action," Haberle said. "The fire department said not having to deal with that intersection actually improved their response times to the south part of town, and the police said there haven't been any reports of accidents or additional complaints since the lights went down."
Jacksonville city management also spoke to East Texas Medical Center-Jacksonville, which sits on the corner of Jackson and Nacogdoches, about any possible effects the change might have on them, and the hospital did not express any problems with the lights being taken down permanently.
When TxDOT crews initially inspected the downed traffic light they found that it had not been repaired or updated since being installed in 1961.
It would have cost the state somewhere between $100,000 and $130,000 to swap the corroded and obsolete traffic lights with modern, fiber-optic replacements.
"There was one pedestrian who brought forward a concern because they can no longer cross Jackson Street at that location, but other than that everybody affected by that intersection has been in favor of leaving the light down and improving the traffic flow through that part of town," Haberle said.
When the signals went offline, TxDOT established a temporary situation whereby traffic on Jackson Street became free-flowing through that intersection and stop signs were installed on Nacogdoches Street. That temporary solution will now be made permanent.