Residents petition for better traffic signal at highway intersec - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Residents petition for better traffic signal at highway intersection

DUNCAN, Okla._There's a petition drive going on in Stephens County over installing better traffic signals at the intersection known as the Lawton-Duncan “Y”.

A Marlow resident who, along with her daughter, was involved in a crash there has gathered more than 1,000 signatures from people who believe the existing flashing lights aren't doing enough to keep drivers safe.

Jim Warren has worked at a convenience store on the corner of the Lawton-Duncan "Y" for nine months and in that short time, he says he's witnessed many near accidents.

"You know, people get tired of waiting at that red light while all the other traffic is going and they'll push their way through the traffic,” said Warren.

Sheila Dees, field traffic engineer for the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, says the intersection has qualified for a stop light in terms of traffic flow in recent studies. The installation of a new light would cost around $150,000. And while it's feasible, Dee's says the "Y" isn't exactly a cause for immediate concern with engineers.

"It wasn't one of our highest collision rates that we monitored, but traffic signals also cause delays," explained Dees.

With Duncan just a few feet away, the thoroughfare technically sits in Marlow city limits and that means the decision over a new light falls on the city of Marlow, a decision that officials are weighing carefully.

"In just talking to some people, some people say ‘yeah we need it’ and others say ‘I don't want a light there.’ This is not a decision that can be made by a handful of officials or city staff," said Jason McPherson, Marlow city administrator.

If a traffic light were to go up at the “Y”, the city of Marlow would have to pay 20 percent of the construction costs, or $30,000, ODOT would pay the rest. But Marlow's biggest concern isn't with the money; it's about the costs that would follow in years to come.

"What is the maintenance down the road? That doesn't stop this from happening at all, but it's things we need to consider," said McPherson.

In the meantime, Warren says he'll continue to be careful when driving through the “Y” and hopes a compromise can be reached.

The city of Marlow says there's no timeline on when they hope to have a solution for the intersection. They say they'll continue to work with ODOT and hope to give residents the chance to voice their concerns before any decision is made.


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