HOUGHTON — It’s not a matter of “if”, but “when”.
That’s the word from the Michigan Department of Transportation on the installation of a traffic light at the entrance of the WalMart on M-26 in Houghton.
MDOT says the traffic at this hazardous intersection warrants a stop light
MDOT Transportation Service Center Manager Aaron Johnson said, “Anyone familiar with this area can see that through the years, the commercial businesses. restaurants, motels, many other developments have popped up on either side of this particular location, And, it happens gradually, and with the gradual development comes a gradual increase in traffic.”
MDOT is working with the city of Houghton to get the signal as soon as possible, but the inherent danger of adding a light must also be considered.
Johnson said, “Stopping a highway is a big thing. You have people coming up behind you and you increase the chances of rear-end crashes and all that. So, putting a traffic signal in has a lot of liability, it’s done very carefully, and it has to meet the engineering need for such a thing.”
The City of Houghton would like to see the signal put in as early as next year, but MDOT says funding and engineering requirements means that can’t be guaranteed.
Johnson said, “I know that’s not a good enough answer for people. They want a hard date. Certainly, we have every interest also at getting it scheduled as soon as possible, but I would say, right now, within a couple years.”
In the meantime, motorists are encouraged to reduce traffic in the area by using alternative routes and other means of transportation.