Traffic lights proposed at Fairview Road and Ash Street intersection

Thursday, March 22, 2012 | 9:11 p.m. CDT; updated 9:19 p.m. CDT, Thursday, March 22, 2012

COLUMBIA — The two-way stop at the intersection of Fairview Road and Ash Street  is not as effective as it could be.

At the intersection now, two stop signs sit on Ash Street, and left turns are not allowed. If traffic signals were added, there would be less backed up traffic, and left turns would be allowed, said Richard Stone, project engineer for the Public Works Deparment.

The Public Works Department made a proposal to the Columbia City Council to construct a span-wire signal — traffic lights hanging from wires strung above the road. The span-wire signals are just as effective as permanent traffic lights, but they are less expensive, Stone said.

The logistics

  • Stone said the department already has the equipment: the traffic lights, wires and signal cabinet that were previously used at the intersection of Scott Boulevard and Chapel Hill Road. That intersection’s temporary span-wire traffic lights were replaced by permanent ones.
  • If approved, the improvements to the intersection would cost an estimated $75,000 and would be funded through the city's capital improvement project fund . 
  • The Public Works Department hopes to have the project completed by late summer or fall. Stone said the project should last one to two months and should not affect traffic flow at the intersection.

Fred Schmidt, First Ward councilman, attended an informational meeting Thursday at Paxton Keeley Elementary School. Schmidt said that he thinks the signalization is a good idea, and the council will look favorably on it.

“I think neighbors will be very pleased with this improvement,” Schmidt said.

The project will be presented at a public hearing at either the first or second City Council meeting in May, Stone said. 

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Esther Stroh April 5, 2012 | 1:31 p.m.

This is much needed and long overdue. The slight hill on Fairview to the south of the intersection makes it impossible to see oncoming northbound traffic. It is especially dangerous in the morning and afternoons. I bicycle through this intersection with a group of Smithton middle school students, and it is always a nail-biter. This portion of Ash is an official bicycle route, but this particular intersection is very dangerous for bicyclists as well as motorists.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith April 5, 2012 | 2:29 p.m.

I agree with Esther. So what's the latest thinking concerning the "offset" intersection where Fairview Road runs into and becomes briefly concurrent with West Worley? There we are talking about far more than a "slight hill" (on West Worley).

The situation is further complicated - for construction purposes, not present traffic - by the fact that Harmony Creek runs under West Worley at the point of street concurrence.

(Report Comment)
Virginia Muller April 5, 2012 | 3:42 p.m.

I also agree with Esther, and I ride through this intersection regularly as well. I was not aware that left turns are not allowed at this intersection, and from my experience, I don't think most of the cars that drive through there are aware of that either. Left-turning cars often complicate cyclists' efforts to get across this intersection quickly and safely.

I'd love to see that light that the city already has put at this intersection!

(Report Comment)
Amy Willsey April 6, 2012 | 10:05 a.m.

Hello Readers,
My name is Amy Willsey and I'm the reporter that wrote this article. I know from talking to Richard Stone, project engineer for the Public Works Department, that the insertion of traffic lights to that area will help not only car traffic but pedestrian and bicycle traffic as well. If you have any other questions or would like to attend the City Council meeting in which this project will be discussed, you may contact Richard Stone at I hope this helps!
Amy Willsey
Columbia Missourian Reporter

(Report Comment)

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