Normal Street neighbors are glad to get traffic signal at Spri

Saturday, July 20, 2002

From staff reports

Paul Simpson has lived near the corner of Normal and Sprigg streets for nearly 40 years, and he's never felt safe trying to maneuver his way through the tricky intersection.

"You just can't hardly get across," said Simpson, who lives at 712 Normal, about half a block from the intersection. "College kids are walking across, cars are really coming down Sprigg pretty quick. It's been a difficult corner for years."

This is why Simpson and other nearby residents are glad that traffic signals are being installed and should be activated no later than November.

"It's something that's been needed for a long, long time," Simpson said.

Work began on the project and is slated for completion in November, said city engineer Mark Lester, though he added he expects it to be finished earlier.

The project costs approximately $147,000 and is contracted to Cotner Electric. The city and Southeast Missouri State University are sharing the cost, with the city paying 55 percent.

The problem has been discussed for years and at one point, there was even the discussion of a roundabout. But roundabouts had not been proven locally at the time, so that idea was eventually dismissed.

Pat Wachter, who lives at 701 Normal, said she agreed it was time for a new signal.

"You can never get onto Sprigg," she said. "It gets so busy in the afternoon. I've always said they needed a stoplight there. That traffic is fast, especially when school is in."

Cape Girardeau police Sgt. Jack Wimp, who is with the department's traffic division, agreed the light was probably a good idea. But he cautioned that drivers will need to take extra care once the stoplight is finished.

"Once that road gets snow on it or ice, people going north and south need to be aware that light is there," Wimp said, noting that it's at the bottom of a small hill.

"If they're not careful, they're going to slide into the vehicles in front of them," he said. "We've had crashes in the past when cars hit other cars that are stopped to turn or to let pedestrians get across."

Wimp said there have been five accidents at the intersection within the last year, which he categorized as "not particularly high."

The speed limit is 30 mph for the streets that meet at the intersection.

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