Traffic control

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Cape Girardeau appears to be ahead of the curve when it comes to moving traffic.

A national study found that two-thirds of the traffic agencies in 49 states don't actively monitor traffic lights, costing millions of dollars in lost time and more gasoline consumption and emissions. But in Cape Girardeau, all 15 city-operated intersections are controlled by computers and by traffic demand. Cameras mounted on signal arms control four of those intersections.

Cape Girardeau has spent about $500,000 upgrading its traffic signals in recent years and plans $150,000 in improvements over the next five years.

Another 23 intersections in Cape Girardeau are run by the Missouri Department of Transportation, which also operates all the signals in Jackson and Scott city because they're on state routes. MoDOT's signals respond to wires in the pavement that gauge vehicular traffic.

Last year, MoDOT upgraded the signals on Route K between Silver Springs Road and Siemers Drive to prevent motorists from having to stop at all five lights.

Cape Girardeau has a population of 35,000, but the daily census is swelled to 100,000 by workers who live outside the city, shoppers and people from the region seeking medical attention. The city has to move vehicles around as efficiently as possible to handle the crunch. Thankfully, city officials are attempting to make sure that's being done.

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