No one wants to get pulled over and given a ticket for running a red light. But Bismarck Police don’t have many options to catch drivers committing the violation especially in busy intersections.
“Sometimes we have to have like a spotter to sit in the intersection in an unmarked car or maybe they’re just standing there watching and then another car to do the stop. Or the officer has to be in the right place at the right time,” said Jeff Solemsaas, lieutenant of the traffic division.
So, the city commission approved the installation of blue lights to help with the problem. It’s something the city of Mandan already has on the back on some of their traffic signals.
Lieutenant Solemsaas explained, “It’s hardwired into the actual red light itself. So, when that traffic signal turns red, the blue light will come on.”
What’s different about these is that the light will be on top or bottom so it can be seen from all sides. But not every traffic light in the city will have them.
“We’re trying to concentrate obviously on the high traffic intersections along State seet corridor, Century avenue, Seventh and Ninth street obviously, Main avenue, Bismarck Expressway, things of that nature,” said Lieutenant Solemsaas.
In total, there will be 97 intersections outfitted with these omnidirectional lights. The city also approved of updated pedestrian crosswalk signs to replace the already existing ones.
Lieutant Solemsaas added, “My understanding is that they’re going to have timers that will actually give a countdown of how much time is left to cross the street as opposed to the old walk and don’t walk.”
The bids for the blue light project will happen this year. Which means the installation won’t happen until 2018.
The project is mostly funded federally and what is not is taken from sales tax dollars.