Elkhart finance committee debates whether to repair traffic signal detectors

Some of the technology that controls traffic lights in Elkhart is in need of repairs.

"We have 94 intersections in Elkhart. Most of them have detection, and so the detection is so that when a car pulls up to an intersection a light will change," said Marty Morgan, street commissioner for the city of Elkhart.

But some of the equipment used to detect cars at some intersections isn't working the way it should, and the street commissioner is afraid those signals will go out eventually and lead to traffic backing up on roads.

"It would throw everything else off so you might set longer at a light waiting for it to change and you would have a main route that could be stopped for no reason at all," said Morgan.

That's why the Elkhart Finance Committee is talking about spending more than $200,000 to repair traffic light detectors and install signs.

Not everyone on the committee is in favor of spending the money this way, however.

"I would vote against it because if the statement's made that the system isn't working, and we're searching for a system that would make it work a little better, or we're pouring money into maintaining a system that we're having problems with, this is one area we can step back and save the money on," said Brian Thomas, Elkhart city council member.

The city's street commissioner says without repairing the detection system at intersections experiencing problems, the city would have to go back to an older, timer-based system for those intersectios.

"It'll be so many seconds on north south [streets] and so many seconds on east west streets, so that would be a timed intersection," said Morgan.

Council members against the repairs don't see anything wrong with that.

"I don't think there would be backup. I mean, even if a traffic light lasts for another 10 seconds on one side or another, I don't think is gonna cause much of a problem," said Thomas.

Intersections currently experiencing problems with traffic detectors in the city of Elkhart are:

-Middlebury Street and Middleton Run Roads
-Middlebury Street and Simpson Avenue
-Beardsley Avenue and Homeland Road

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