Rainsville to see traffic light system upgrade

The traffic light at the Rainsville crossing will be upgraded.

The Rainsville City Council on Monday approved the partnership with Alabama Department of Transportation to upgrade the traffic light system at the crossing of Alabama Highway 75 and Alabama Highway 35.

Rainsville Mayor Rodger Lingerfelt met with Mathew Johnson from ALDOT last week and discussed Rainsville's traffic lights issues.

“Come to find out, our camera system is not working at all, so everything about the red lights in Rainsville right now is all manual and they are running off a timer,” Lingerfelt said.

He said that means if a vehicle pulls up and no one else is around, it will still have to wait until the light cycles through all the different cycles before it's given the green light, to go “so, it takes forever to get through the red lights.”

Lingerfelt said ALDOT wants to come in and set four new steel poles, place all-new cable, wire, camera wire, and run everything overhead on their poles with nothing attached to Farmers Telecommunications or Sand Mountain Electric Co-Op poles, but instead, the system stand on its own.

“They are going to put in some new lights that feature more caution lights (time) for turning lanes to help you not run the turning lane and get hit,” said Lingerfelt. “This is a safety factor that they have been installing in other places so, it's a good thing.”

According to www.dot.state.al.us, rather than timers, smart sensor-based traffic signals rely upon a system of sensors to detect when vehicles are present. So, when a car on a side road arrives at the intersection, a sensor will detect it and cycle the lights to allow traffic on the side road to pass through.

The total cost of the renovations is $47,000; however, Rainsville’s part is $16,492.97 to get the system up and running.

The council also discussed adding a turning signal at the traffic light in front of Plainview High School. However, Councilman Bejan Taheri said the state has conducted traffic studies in that area and determined the traffic flow is not enough to justify the placement of one.

Lingerfelt said Johnson will be conducting another traffic study in the future. However, to aid the school's traffic, there is a timer set from 3 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. that allows an increase of time for the buses to get out.

“We have increased the amount of time that light stays green for them to give them enough time to get out just for 15 minutes,” he said.

Councilman Derek Rosson asked if Rainsville offered to pay for the turning light if the state would agree to place one at that location, to which Taheri and Lingerfelt said no.

“If we could do that, we would also put one at hilltop,” Lingerfelt said. “It's one of those things that if there is not enough traffic to justify it, they are not going to impede the flow of traffic.”

Councilman Brandon Freeman announced baseball and softball signups are on Jan. 23 and 30 at the Rainsville Field of Dreams Sports Complex for ages 4 to 12. The cost is $40 per child and $20 for any additional child that lives in the same household.

Rainsville Police Chief Michael Edmondson said he had received complaints regarding drivers cited for driving on the left lane impeding traffic. He said Alabama State law states drivers are only allowed to operate in the left lane to pass another car, and drivers can not drive in the left lane for more than 1.5 miles. (Exceptions: congestion of traffic preventing a driver from driving in the right lane).

Rainsville Library Director Sarah Cruce announced the Rainsville Library received a $3,000 grant for upgrades to their reading material from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Cruce also informed the council about the library's UVC Box that aids them in sanitizing material faster and efficiently.

The council also:

• approved Network Security Resolution 12-07-2020 to strengthen the city's cybersecurity and eliminate any possible issues to the city’s firewall.

• approved to empower the mayor to sign the John Stone Contract for the 2021 Freedom Fest entertainment $2,500 to be paid by Feb. 1, 2020, and the remainder by June 26, 2020.

• approved to reimburse Rainsville Court Clerk Tammy Mason $300 for online class training. The council reimbursed Mason $415 during the Nov. council meeting. The total cost of the training was $715.

• approved the purchase of a laptop and printer for the court at $500.

• approved the purchasing of a roll-off truck for $167,627.97 through Sourcewell (state bid company) and empowering the mayor to do the financing through First Southern State Bank. The current roll-off truck is a 86 model. Lingerfelt said the truck would be added to the existing sanitation loans at FSSB.

• approved the hiring of Gerald Mount as a police officer at the Rainsville Police Department retroactive to 11-11-2020.

• approved to resend motion approved in the 11-16-2020 meeting regarding the purchase of two new Chevrolet Tahoe’s for the Rainsville Police Department. Blevins said they are in the middle of working out an alternate deal that will involve the rotation of patrol vehicles.

• approved the placement of a street light by Nancy’s Lunchbox on Main Street W.

• authorized Rainsville Fire Chief Willimac Wright to apply for the AFG grant.

• approved the annual ladder testing for the Rainsville Fire Department at $1,327.00.

• approved to appoint Councilmen Arlan Blevins, Freeman and Rosson to form the committee to establish and nominate individuals to Rainsville’s 10-11 boards, including the zoning board, the board of adjustments, Agri-center board, Tom Bevill Enrichment Center Board, library board and the industrial development board, among others.

• approved the purchase of Chest Compression Machine at $14,993.37 for the Rainsville Fire Department with funds coming out of the General Fund. The city will be reimbursed by the Alabama State Cares Act Relief Fund.

• approved the Rainsville Library to donate Plainview High School and Cornerstone Christian Academy libraries a UVC Box to aid in sanitizing and speed up sanitizing their materials. The cost is $50 per box with funds from the Rainsville Library's recent indoor yard sale fundraiser.

The next council meeting is scheduled for Dec. 21, 2020, with a workshop at 4 p.m. and a regular session at 4:30 p.m.

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