Roanoke City Council, in its next-to-last meeting as it is currently comprised, took a significant step Monday toward fixing the traffic signal at Main Street and LaFayette Highway, the intersection also known as Three Points.
The signal is outdated and operating on timing that is less than ideal, creating longer wait times for Main Street traffic.
The timing of the light cannot be adjusted due to the age of the electronics and wiring, and according to Roanoke city maintenance supervisor Keith Richardson, the light could simply stop working at any time. Whenever a power outage or other event affects the light, it defaults to a flashing yellow signal that then has to be reset to return to functioning red-yellow-green light.
"As old as it is, there's going to be a time when it won't reset," Richardson told the council.
As a pre-emptive measure against that scenario, the council authorized Richardson to negotiate with the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) to have the control box and wiring replaced.
An initial estimate from ALDOT places the price tag for the needed repairs between $35,000 and $40,000, but Richardson said ALDOT could help offset those costs since the signal is used at an intersection of a state highway (Highway 22).
Richardson said he will communicate with ALDOT this week and hopefully come back to the council at next week's meeting with a more firm cost for the needed work.
Police could lose DUI device
Roanoke Police Chief Adam Melton reported to the council that his department has been notified it is in danger of losing a needed piece of equipment from department headquarters.
The department has a specific instrument that determines the intoxication level of people arrested for DUI or public intoxication. The Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences (ADFS) sent Melton a letter Monday stating that Roanoke does not use the instrument often enough to warrant its presence at the station, and that they planned to send workers to remove the instrument.
If that happens Roanoke officers would then be required to process all of its DUI and public intoxication cases through the county's facilities in Wedowee, which would add an hour or more to the process for transport to and from Roanoke.
According to Melton, ADFS has a minimum threshold of 32 cases per year in order to justify the presence of the device and requires that $100 per case be sent to ADFS as a fee. Roanoke has not met that threshold and has not been paying that money, as Melton said he was not aware of the fee or of that fact that it was a requirement for use of the device.
In order to avoid the device's removal and save hours of unnecessary travel to and from Wedowee, Melton offered to negotiate with ADFS to pay any owed money.
The council authorized him to engage in those negotiations in hopes that an agreement can be reached.
The city council will host an open house for the grand opening of the Pool-Fisher Community Center on Price Street just off of Highway 22.
The event will be open to the public and refreshments and activities will be available for those visiting.
The event will take place Friday, Oct. 30, starting at 1 p.m.
In other action Monday, the council:
- Approved the placement of a speed bump on Commerce Street near the intersection with East Avenue after a group of concerned citizens in the neighborhood put together a petition to have the speed bump installed.
- The intersection is one of the main routes of exiting traffic from Knight-Enloe Elementary School during pick-up and drop-off hours.
- Declared two properties, one on Nook Street and one on Seymour Drive, as nuisance properties.
- Approved the placement of two streetlights near residences on H. Owensby Drive.
- Announced a reception for the outgoing mayor and city council members at next week's Oct. 26 meeting. Mayor Mike Fisher and council members Mack Arthur Bell and Smokey Cole will be recognized at the reception.
- Announced the swearing-in ceremony, with a reception to follow, of the incoming mayor and council members for Nov. 2. Jill Hicks will take office as the new mayor, while Kesa Johnston and John Frank Houston will join the council.
- Spent 23 minutes in executive session discussing the good name and character of an individual, after which they approved a pay increase for a member of the police department.