Signals on N. Sprigg should help traffic

Friday, October 18, 2002

Anyone who has ever been to a basketball game or a concert at the Show Me Center is familiar with the traffic problems on North Sprigg Street. In addition, the intersection of Sprigg and Normal Avenue is a major access to Southeast Missouri State University

After Show Me Center events, the traffic doesn't seem unreasonable considering there are thousands of people in hundreds of cars all leaving at the same time. During the school year, Sprigg Street is a busy thoroughfare throughout the day.

When the Cape Girardeau city officials, in conjunction with the university, agreed to put in a traffic light at Sprigg and Normal, one had to wonder how it would affect traffic after Show Me Center events.

We still don't know for sure, but cameras have been placed atop the signals to address that concern. The sole purpose of the cameras will be to keep traffic flowing. The cameras will detect where vehicles are stopped and will tell the controllers when to change the lights at the intersections. The detection devices will be able to detect slowed traffic hundreds of feet down the street -- all the way north to the Show Me Center.

This will allow traffic to flow smoothly on Sprigg with just an occasional green light for the traffic on Normal after big events. On a typical, non-event day, the signals will make it easier for pedestrian and vehicular traffic to cross Sprigg.

The up-front cost of these cameras, covered by the university, was $17,000 more than the conventional sensor systems that lie underneath the pavement at most Cape Girardeau intersections. But city officials say maintenance and repairs of the cameras will be much more cost effective than the traditional sensors.

If the cameras, the first to ever be installed by Cape Girardeau, do what they're supposed to do, then the city and university officials made the right decision to use this technology.

Motorists should also take notice of the flashing yellow warning signals that warn of the new traffic lights at Spring and Normal. Visibility is poor from both north and south. The warning signals will alert the motorists when the light is red. Even when the yellow warning lights are not flashing, it would be wise to proceed with caution.

You never know when a student might be running late for class.

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