Public shows support for proposed signal at Nifong and Peachtree

Thursday, May 19, 2011 | 10:26 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Drivers who travel West Nifong Boulevard near Peachtree Drive know that it can be a hassle to get through the intersection when Rock Bridge High School dismisses or at other times of day.

That's why most people who attended an open house Thursday evening to discuss a proposed traffic signal at the intersection are in favor of the change. The open house was hosted by the Columbia Public Works Department.

Weldon Webb, a resident who often drives through the intersection, said he attended the meeting to gain more information.

"I waited 12 minutes to make a left-hand turn there this morning," said Webb, who supports the proposed signal.

People who attended the meeting were shown diagrams of the proposed signal and given fliers with detailed information about the project.

Scott Bitterman, supervising traffic engineer for the Public Works Department, answered questions posed by residents regarding details of the construction plan for the intersection.

"The signal would serve as a relief valve for Rock Bridge High School students," Bitterman said. "They could use Peachtree rather than trying to turn left onto Providence from the outer road."

Bitterman said it would also provide an outlet for businesses on the southwest corner of Nifong and Peachtree.

Attendees were generally supportive of the proposed signal. They also used the time to air their concerns about other intersections they believe need improvements.

Bob Walters, who worked in an office building on the southwest corner of the intersection from 2001 to 2009, said he is also in favor of the signal. 

"I learned not to invite people to my office between 3 and 3:30 because the traffic was so bad," he said.

A public hearing on the issue is planned in about two weeks, Bitterman said. After the hearing, the issue will need to be approved by the City Council.

The signal could be finished by late summer, pending approval by the council, Bitterman said.

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