Formerly Pittsburg’s most dangerous intersection, the intersection of Fourth and Rouse will have protected left turns, starting next week.

Formerly Pittsburg’s most dangerous intersection, the intersection of Fourth and Rouse will have protected left turns, starting next week.
Bill Beasley, Pittsburg director of public works, said that workers spent time Thursday adding the traffic light heads to make the change at the intersection.
“Over the past week, we have had our technician up there running the wire for it,” Beasley said. “But today was probably one of the first times you could see visible evidence of that going up. The lights are up there now, but we have to wire them in yet and go through and put signage up.”
Beasley said the city had to wait for the Kansas Department of Transportation to put the protected signals up. KDOT’s traffic counts originally said that the protected signals weren’t warranted, so the city conducted its own counts. Once those counts also came back under the threshold, Beasley said the city had to pay for the protected signals itself.
“They signed the acceptance on July 9,” Beasley said. “So we didn’t have any authority to do anything with the lights until then.”
But now, Beasley said the goal was to finish up the protected lights sometime next week, before school started back up.
The signals are the second of three to go up in recent months, including the new signal at Ford and Rouse and the upcoming signal at 23rd and Joplin streets. Pittsburg State University assisted with funding the former, while the latter received partial funding through KDOT.
“At first, they argued that it didn’t meet their warrants,” Beasley said. “But we were able to produce enough evidence through our accidents to warrant it. So the state is paying for part of that signal.
“Once 23rd Street is open all the way, it is really going to be needed,” Beasley said. “These are all responses to concerns and problems, and none of this would have been possible without assistance.”
John Van Gorden, interim Pittsburg City Manager, said the protected signal was needed at Fourth and Rouse.
“That was our most dangerous intersection until we approved it, and we have always wanted to have protected lanes,” Van Gorden said. “So we went ahead and we’re taking the steps to do that.”

Kevin Flaherty can be reached at kevin.flaherty@morningsun.net or by calling 231-2600 Ext. 134