MAHASKA COUNTY — Mahaska County’s application for Iowa Department of Transportation Traffic Safety Improvement Program funds has been approved.

The Iowa Transportation Commission has approved $7,351,000 in total funding for a total of 42 projects from the Traffic Safety Improvement Program. According to the Iowa DOT, the program was created in 1987 to improve traffic safety. Funds are available for city, county or state roads through an application process.

Mahaska County’s secondary roads department plans to use the funds for temporary traffic signals to be used to direct traffic and allow lane closure areas in overnight closure situations.

According to the county’s proposal, Secondary Roads is responsible for the engineering, construction and maintenance of 128 miles of paved roads, 814 miles of gravel and 28 miles of dirt roads, totaling nearly 970 miles. Additionally 195 bridges are maintained by Mahaska County.

Mahaska County Assistant Engineer Mike Rodwell said the plan is to share the signals with Marion County.

“We still have to do some housekeeping paperwork, if you will, with us and Marion County as far as how they’ll be stored and where and when,” he said. “We’ve got to do a 28E between the two of us.”

A few possible uses of the portable traffic signals include bridge construction and repair, pavement patching, emergency scenarios, routine maintenance of culverts, ditches, shoulders and guardrails.

The lights would provide increased visibility to approaching drivers, especially at night. The lights also may provide drivers with clearer understanding and relieves the physical demands, stress, fatigue and dangers associated with workers flagging.

“And it allows you to have a work zone set up overnight,” Rodwell said, “so you don’t have to have flaggers 24 hours a day.”

The county requested Traffic Safety Improvement Program funds to completely cover the cost of a pair of temporary traffic signals with pilot car remote and vehicle detection options.

According to the DOT proposal, an estimate for the pair of signals (including vehicle detection and pilot car remote) $50,000.

Rodwell said he anticipates now that the project to get the signals has been approved, quotes will be sought.

“I believe we’ll have to go with the low bidder,” he said. “That’s the way I anticipate it working.”

The funding will be available July 1, 2020, and purchase of the temporary traffic signals will likely take place in July.

Managing Editor Angie Holland can be reached at aholland@oskyherald.com and followed on Twitter @OskyAngie.

Managing Editor Angie Holland can be reached at aholland@oskyherald.com and followed on Twitter @OskyAngie.

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