Drivers are advised to be on the lookout for projects that will affect traffic signals at intersections along two main thoroughfares in the city.
The El Dorado City Council voted Thursday to remove the traffic signal at College and Faulkner, agreeing that a traffic count showed that the signal is not warranted at the intersection.
Robert Edmonds, director of public works, also reported that the Arkansas Department of Transportation is conducting another study for the city’s request to install new traffic signals at North West Avenue and 19th Street.
The request is part of a project to improve traffic flow along 19th on the east side of West Avenue.
College and West avenues are major north-south arteries in the city.
While thousands of vehicles pass along College each day, cross traffic heading east and west on Faulkner is minor, Edmonds said.
With approval from the city council, he said the traffic signal will remain and flash yellow caution lights.
Stop signs will be installed on Faulkner.
The department of public works conducted a study of traffic patterns at the intersection and found that an average of 10,000 vehicles per day travel along College.
Approximately 10 percent of that number of vehicles heads east and west on Faulkner each day, Edmonds said.
Aldermen approved the measure with a voice vote.
Mayor Frank Hash said the city is awaiting permission from ARDoT to install new traffic signals at North West Avenue and 19th, which also connects to College.
Work is has been done to widen and add a turn lane to the east side of the intersection to help alleviate backups for westbound traffic.
The project was sparked last year when residents of Country Club Colony requested the closure of two neighborhood streets — Glenridge and Woodland Drive, both of which connect to North West Avenue — to alleviate speeding and litter from pass-through traffic.
After a year of discussion and debate, which included a temporary closure of the streets on a six-month trial basis, the council denied the petition for closure with tie vote in April.
Hash abstained from casting the tie-breaking vote.
A point that arose from the year-long discussion was that some vehicles cut through the neighborhood to avoid the traffic light at North West and 19th.
The 19th Street entrance to Country Club Colony is east of the intersection,
Neighborhood residents and city officials noted that westbound traffic often stalls along 19th because left turns are not protected on the east side of the intersection as they are on the west side.
Consequently, city officials reached out to ARDot and requested a left turn lane for traffic that is turning south onto North West Avenue.
Also included in the request was an option to reset the rotation for the traffic light to help move traffic along more smoothly.
State approval is required for the project because North West Avenue, or U.S. 167 B, is a state highway.
ARDoT initially turned down the request to add a turn lane, but highway officials reviewed the matter and again and gave the OK last January.
The project is being done at the city’s expense, a condition that was part of the city’s initial request to the state.
Edmonds said the widening and striping of the intersection have been completed, adding that the city worked with Entergy on a plan to widen the street without having move utility poles in the area.
“We’ve submitted the plans to the state, and now the state wants to go back and do another study,” Edmonds said, referring to the phase of the project that involves upgrading the traffic signal to protect left turns.
“Folks will be able to use (the turn) lane without the light, but that’s all we can do for now,” Hash said.
Tia Lyons may be contacted at 870-862-6611 or firstname.lastname@example.org.