Changes will be made to the intersection at Highway 100 and West Pride Drive, but the signal will continue flashing after school hours.
After two serious crashes on back-to-back days, MoDOT began a study of the intersection. The department received multiple requests to improve the safety by making the signal cycle full time instead of flashing at certain points of the day.
Judy Wagner, MoDOT area engineer, said MoDOT has approved a series of changes that should hopefully make the intersection safer. However, she did not believe the signal needed to run 24 hours a day.
“It’s against our policy to switch to have a school signal operate 24 hours,” she said.
West Pride Drive leads into the Washington West Elementary and Early Learning Center campus. In late March, the intersection had two injury crashes in two days during school hours.
Washington Police Officer Michael Grissom said the crashes at the end of March were both the result of drivers on Highway 100 failing to stop at red lights and “T-boning” drivers turning left from West Pride Drive.
The current signal system has yellow flashing lights for drivers on Highway 100 and red flashing lights for drivers on West Pride Drive during nonschool hours. During school hours, the system operates on a normal timing system with the lights turning red, yellow and green.
Grissom said the Washington School District has requested a change to the signal and would like to see the lights cycle all day long, rather than have any flashing lights. The city does not have control over the signal.
Wagner said MoDOT recently reviewed the area and came up with several changes.
The first change is MoDOT will add a reflective back plates on the signal head in order to increase visibility. The yellow tape is currently used on Highway 100 at Route M in Villa Ridge.
The timing of the lights also will be changed. Wagner said both the green and red light timing will be changed to hopefully avoid collisions.
All red clearance interval occurring after the mainline green will be increased from 1.2 to 3.9 seconds.
“This will help make sure the intersection is clear before side street drivers enter the intersection,” she said.
The all red clearance interval occurring after the West Pride green was also changed from 1.5 to 1.6 seconds. This change will result in a longer all red time for the intersection.
Wagner said the changes will be permanent.
“These types of changes have been very successful at other locations,” she said.
MoDOT will continue to evaluate the intersection. Wagner said the biggest thing drivers can do is pay attention and drive defensively when pulling out onto Highway 100.
Wagner said she’s also going to ask the Washington Police Department to increase red light running and speeding enforcement at this location when it has the time and resources.