Columbia traffic lights temporarily replaced with four way stops

COLUMBIA, MS (WDAM) - It's been several weeks since the traffic lights in downtown Columbia have been turned off and four-way stop barriers added to control traffic.

Mayor Bourne said Tuesday, the feedback about the four-ways has been unanimously positive and the only person bidding for the traffic lights on Main Street is a man who wants to fix them.

The City of Columbia had received a grant from the Department of Transportation to replace the old, antiquated traffic lights this summer.

Columbia Mayor Robert Bourne said, "About a $300,000 project to replace the traffic signals in downtown Columbia.

As the date to replace the lights neared the DOT conducted a traffic survey finding that the amount of traffic did not warrant traffic lights at all, but a few weeks ago the antique traffic signals were no more.

"We ran out of parts for the old traffic controls downtown. Those are 50 years plus old," Bourne said.

With some lights malfunctioning the city turned the traffic signals off and erected four-way stops in each of the three intersections.

"Temporary racks to hold signs and we put those on the street and low and behold they are moving the traffic very well," Bourne said.

The popularity of the smooth flowing four-way stops, has the mayor and board of alderman working on a plan to install permanent four-way structures.

Several years ago the city replaced all the old street lamps with new, ornate poles and fixtures with a colonial design.

Bourne said, "What we would do with the stop signs we put up would be on poles that would very much be on the architecture of what's already down there."

Once the city agrees on a plan for the four-way stops the project should move swiftly since it will only require minimal work.

"Some more street marking of course and a small amount of construction that we are talking about. So, hopefully we'll have it done by the end of the summer."