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Taylor Mill Approves New Street Lights on Dark Stretch of Road

The topic of streetlights became the bulk of the meeting at the Taylor Mill City Commission meeting on Wednesday night, as the Commission voted to make cuts to their budget in order to pay for the lighting of the stretch of road between Honey Drive and Taylor Creek Drive.

The decision came down to three different sections of road in Taylor Mill. 

In previous meetings, the Commission requested an assessment of the cost of lighting the intersections in three different locations once bids for the project came in.  City Engineer Mark Brueggemann explained that the first section examined was along Pride Parkway between Taylor Creek Drive and Honey Drive. In this area, the cost of running wiring and conduit underground, coupled with the decorative poles the City chose, would cost $211,000. 

Of the three areas reviewed, this was deemed the darkest and most in need of illumination. It was also the most expensive option.

The section of Honey Drive to Taylor Mill Road came in at $158,000 and the section on Taylor Mill Road from Pride Parkway to Walnut Street was tabbed at $169,000. 

The City had allocated $150,000 for the project, which is below each of the three segments analyzed. Since the commission already approved the funding to pay for the first and most expensive option, money will be taken from the city’s planned “gateway features”, aesthetic enhancements at the entrance of the Taylor Mill along Taylor Mill Road. This shifting of funds required a budget amendment that was unanimously approved by the Commission.

Because the road is a state road, new state regulations have complicated the situation.

“Once the state imposed their new permit restrictions, the spacing changes, the light changes, there was just a significant number of things,” said City Administrator Jill Bailey. “Because these are state roadways we are obligated to go by state requirements.”

It was Commissioner Dan Murray who was the first to support lighting the most expensive section because he felt it was the least safe. He said that he has been told two cars have been totaled from accidents at the intersection there. Police Chief Steve Knauf said that he is aware of one major accident there but would have to check about the second. In order to move forward with the project, the city will need to put lights on both sides of the street—not just one.

“It’s just common sense,” Murray said. “We have more light than we need down here. Putting more lights in there, doesn’t make sense. But we got two very busy intersections that are dark.”

Mayor Dan Bell agreed with Murray in his assessment of where the street lights were most needed. Once that seemed to become the prevailing opinion among the commission, it was then a question of whether the city would wait for the next fiscal year or move forward before then and take money out of other slated projects.

In the end, the commission voted to do it this year by sacrificing the gateway features that Mayor Bell called a “wish list item” anyway.

“I don’t think this project is going to get any less expensive the longer we wait for it,” Bailey said about the street lights initiative. “If you have an opportunity to break it up and that’s what you want to do, we can certainly move forward.”

The next step in the project now is for the city to meet with the contractor to establish a schedule. Bailey said that there is typically a 12-week wait time for the delivery of the poles for the lights, which would then push the project into the winter months.

The streetlight projects could possibly coincide with the state coming through with the traffic lights that the city desires along the same stretch of road. Chief Knauf said that there are rumors of the traffic lights soon becoming a reality there thanks in part to state personnel conducting studies on the roads.

“This could all work hand in hand with us moving forward on that, so let’s have a hope that we get a stop light there at the same time we get it lit,” Mayor Bell said.

Knauf said that his department has conducted an anti-speeding public awareness campaign by putting up signs on the median of Pride Parkway requesting motorists to obey the speed limit. Police have also placed a display board that flashes what the speed limit trying to make drivers cognizant of what their speed is, and also have stepped up their enforcement in the area.

Written by Bryan Burke, associate editor