Broadway and Harrison will get a make-over, but there won’t be any new stop signs or traffic lights. At least not yet.
That is what the Great Bend City Council decided Monday night following an unusual tie vote on the issue.
Under discussion for years has been how to address traffic issues for those who drive on Harrison, especially during the hours when Great Bend Middle School is starting or stopping.
There have been two public comment sessions on the issue and City Attorney Robert Winiecke noted that at both of them the consensus was to make geometric improvements to the intersection, improve the site lines by removing some trees, and create a west-bound turn lane by removing the Broadway “island” at the east side of the intersection.
That will provide for a left turn lane in each direction and the suggestion is that those improvements may make the intersection safer.
If that doesn’t solve the problem, it was noted, the work won’t be wasted. It would have to be done whether traffic signals are installed or not.
Winiecke estimated it will cost from $25,000 to $50,000 to make these improvements.
He also estimated it would cost about another $125,000 to install the traffic signals.
Two votes were taken Monday night.
The first was on a motion that was made by Councilman Randy Myers. He moved that the city do the improvements to the intersection and install the traffic signals. That was seconded by Councilman Dana Dawson. Also voting for that motion were council members Joel Jackson and Dale Westhoff.
The rest of the council members, Bill Berryman, Mitch Haney, Ken Roberts and Allene Owen voted against the motion.
Mayor Mike Allison broke that tie by voting in opposition to the motion.
Following that, Roberts moved that the intersection improvements be made and the island be removed to provide for the left turn lane. That motion was approved with Dawson and Myers voting in opposition.
Dawson asked how long the intersection is to be studied after the improvements to determine whether they have worked or not. “Until somebody gets killed,” Myers commented.
City Engineer Winiecke said about six months should provide time to determine whether the changes will address the safety of the intersection or not.