Traffic light at Ellsworth, 10th St. to be eliminated

SALEM — The traffic light located at the intersection of 10th Street and North Ellsworth Avenue is being eliminated in the near future, city Service/Safety Director Ken Kenst announced this week.

According to Kenst, a stop sign will be installed on 10th Street for traffic to stop there, but there will be no stop sign for traffic on Ellsworth Avenue, giving motorists on Ellsworth the right-of-way and ability to drive straight through. The change won’t take effect until after the paving project on Ellsworth is complete.

The traffic light will continue to work for 30 days after the street is paved, with signs warning of the traffic pattern change. He also said the stop sign on 10th Street will be a sign with lights. He wanted to give residents plenty of notice about the change.

When asked why the traffic light was being eliminated, he said it was deemed unnecessary and pointed out that the light has just been flashing since the water line project began anyway. He also cited the age of the traffic light, saying it’s not feasible to replace the parts for the light. The light only works if there’s a vehicle on 10th Street, so he said it shouldn’t make much of a difference.

Kenst did say he checked with the school district about the change and the officials there were ok with it. The buses do most of their traveling on Buckeye to get to the elementary school.

He’s expecting North Ellsworth to be paved in a couple weeks, from State Street all the way to Bricker Farms Lane, as part of the city’s 2017 paving project. The city worked with the utilities department, with utilities funding a water line replacement project for the street and coordinating the timing with the city so that project would be finished before the paving. The water line project is expected to be finished this week so the street can be ground down in preparation for paving.

Kenst estimated that about a one-third of the paving for this year is complete at this point.