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SIMPSONVILLE – City officials who have been hoping their downtown sidewalk project might lure a new stoplight to a busy intersection are going to be disappointed again.
Mayor Steve Eden said at Wednesday’s meeting of the Simpsonville City Commission that he had been hearing that state transportation officials finally might approve a stoplight at U.S. 60 and Todds Point Road (KY 1848N), something city officials had been requesting for years.
But Transportation Cabinet spokesperson Andrea Clifford said later Wednesday that the prospects for that light are not bright.
“Until such time as a left-turn lane is built on U.S. 60 at KY 1848 N, this intersection is ineligible for signalization,” she wrote in an E-mail. “The only work we’re doing in the area is removing the unneeded school flashers for Our Lady of Guadalupe Academy [now Corpus Christi Academy].”
Eden said Thursday that he never had heard anything from state officials about a need for a turn lane before a light could be installed.
“I’ve seen a lot of traffic lights at intersections that didn’t have a left-turn lane,” he said. “The problem is that the right of way on most roads is sixty feet wide. Our right of way is only fifty feet. That’s why we were squeezed so much putting in our sidewalks. There’s nowhere to put a turn lane.”
Eden had told commissioners that state engineers had looked years earlier at the possibility of a late at that “T,” which often can back up traffic on Todds Point Road, particularly early in the morning, and cause drivers to make quick and sometimes dangerous decisions about pulling into traffic.
“We’ve brought it to their attention several times,” he said. “They would come out and look at it and check the traffic when it wasn’t busy and say it didn’t meet the qualifications. But when Leggett & Platt was there, they wouldn’t see it when the shift was ending. Traffic would be bad to 9 o’clock in the morning, and they would show up at 9:30 to measure it.
“Every year you meet with the state, and they would ask us about our wish list, and we would always say a stoplight at Todds Point Road.”
He had thought building the new sidewalks along the south side of that intersection would inspire a reconsideration.
“It has changed the dynamics, and we put pedestrians into the picture,” he said.
Eden said the city’s one stoplight at U.S. 60 and Buck Creek Road (KY 1848S) only came about because three people died in accidents there.
“Three people got t-boned and killed, and then they put up a light,” he said.
On Thursday he didn’t sound hopeful about any sort of solution this time.
“We’re never going to get a stoplight there unless we get a hold of [state Sen.] Paul Hornback and [state Rep.] Brad Montell and get them to push from the top down.
“Next time I’m in the Transportation office, I’m going to sit down with someone and see how we can get this done.”