WASHINGTON — Temporary traffic signals will be placed at two busy intersections along a detour route when U.S. Business Route 24 is shut down under a railroad viaduct for an Illinois Department of Transportation road project.

The road project is expected to begin in mid-August and take about six weeks to complete.

Laser Electric of Peoria will set up temporary traffic signals at West Jefferson Street and North Wilmor Road and West Jefferson and North Main Street.

Both intersections normally have two stop signs.

"IDOT felt four-way stops at both intersections would be adequate for the detour and temporary traffic signals would be cost-prohibitive because of the short duration of the road project," said Ed Andrews, Washington's public works director.

City Council members strongly disagreed and this week voted unanimously to pay Laser Electric a not-to-exceed amount of $35,363 to install temporary traffic signals on poles that won't block sidewalks.

"There's too much traffic at those intersections for four-way stop signs," said Alderman Dave Dingledine.

The intersection of West Jefferson and North Wilmor is next to Washington Community High School. Classes will be in session for the duration of the detour. Also impacted by the detour will be the high school's marching band invitational, homecoming parade and home sports events.

Andrews said city staff will meet with representatives from IDOT's Traffic Division and Laser Electric prior to the start of the road project to coordinate the installation of the temporary poles.

Low bidder Stark Excavating of Peoria will work on the road under the Toledo, Peoria and Western Roadway viaduct just west of the downtown square with the goal of preventing drivers traveling along U.S. Business Route 24 from hitting the viaduct with the top of the vehicle.

There have been several incidents since emergency roadwork was done under the viaduct by IDOT in May and June 2014 even though the marked 13-foot clearance hasn't changed.

"IDOT wants to gain some clearance back with this project," Andrews said.

A similar detour was set up for the 2014 project. Washington policemen were called in occasionally to direct traffic at the intersections that will have temporary traffic signals this time.

 

Steve Stein can be reached at 686-3114 or stevestein21@yahoo.com. Read his Stein Time blog on pjstar.com. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.