It was constructed with public safety in mind, but a concrete island placed in the middle of the road near Glenwood’s new high school has proven to be a potential hazard for several motorists.
A divided highway sign at the north end of the island has been knocked down and replaced at least four times already this summer, according to Glenwood Public Works Director Perry Cook.
The island is in the middle of Redbud Ave., a stretch of road just inside the city limits that runs north and south along the east side of the new high school. Cook said the island was constructed to prevent southbound drivers from using the center lane to pass other southbound vehicles that are turning west into the high school parking lot.
Cook said having southbound vehicles in the center lane of Redbud passing school buses and other vehicles entering the school lot could create a hazard for eastbound vehicles exiting the school lot and northbound vehicles attempting to turn west into the same lot.
The island was the focus of discussion at a recent meeting of the Glenwood City Council.
“That’s quite dangerous coming around that corner (from the northeast),” city councilman Allan Christiansen said.
Cook said the city asked the Glenwood Community School District to have a traffic study conducted at the site. The study was carried out by DLR, the architectural engineer for the high school project. DLR’s recommendation for the island was approved by the city.
Motorists entering the city limits from the north are coming around a corner from a county road that has a posted speed limit of 45 miles per hour. Cook has recommended the city reduce the speed limit to 25 inside the city limits.
Cook said he believes two construction trailers that have been parked on the southbound lane of Redbud are a significant part of the problem. Cook said seeing the trailers ahead of them parked in the road is causing motorists to steer to the center lane.
“I would like to see those trailers removed and see if that doesn’t lengthen the life of those signs,” Cook said.
Mayor Dyle Downing said the trailers are violating city and state law by being parked in the road. The city attorney’s office has requested in writing that the trailers be taken off the road. Downing said it’s his understanding that the trailers are scheduled to be removed today (Aug. 12). If the trailers aren’t taken away, the city has the authority to move the trailers on their own at the owners’ expense and liability, Downing said.
Downing said the trailers need to be moved because it’s important for local motorists to get used to driving on the road in a proper manner before the school opens on Aug. 26. Because of the trailers, southbound motorists have been forced to drive in the center turning lane this summer.
“We need to get people in a driving pattern before school starts,” Downing said.
Traffic flow near the new school will be monitored after classes begin. If the area becomes too congested, the city will consider installing traffic lights at the intersection of East Sharp St. and Redbud.