Havre Daily News
Havre officials are mulling over their next step after receiving a traffic study from the Montana Department of Transportation that details motor vehicle crash numbers at seven intersections throughout the city.
MDT traffic engineer Jim Combs said the department recommends placing stop signs on Second Street at the Seventh Avenue intersection. The department said the city may want to consider a more formal stop-and-yield study - which would consider other variables such as traffic volume - at Fifth Street and Seventh Avenue, and a corridor study along Fifth Avenue.
Combs said he spoke with Havre Mayor Bob Rice and will continue to work with local officials on how to proceed.
“I'll touch base again with the city and we can get together and chat about it, and see where we can go from here,” he said.
“I don't know what we're going to do yet,” Havre public works director Dave Peterson said. “We have to go through (the study) and see what that entails.”
Combs said officials may want to consider a corridor study on Fifth Avenue. Each crossing street has a stop sign or traffic light, but the avenue continues to have a higher number of motor vehicle crashes, Combs said.
He said it appears to be an “operational problem.” A number of the crashes happened when one vehicle rear-ended another that was waiting to make a left turn, he said.
At the request of Havre officials and City Council members, MDT studied crash numbers across a 49-block grid in downtown Havre. The department considered intersections from First through Seventh streets and First through Seventh avenues. MDT found that the highest number of motor vehicle crashes occurred at the following seven intersections:
Second Street and Fifth Avenue (12 crashes),
Fifth Street and Fifth Avenue (8),
Fourth Street and Fifth Avenue (6),
Second Street and Seventh Avenue (5),
Third Street and Fifth Avenue (4),
Fifth Street and Seventh Avenue (4), and
Sixth Street and Second Avenue (4).
The study looked at statistics from January 2002 to December 2004, Combs said.
Combs said MDT did a traffic signal study in 2001 at the intersection of Second Street and Fifth Avenue. The study concluded that a signal was “warranted but not justified,” he said. Combs said he is not familiar with that particular study, but said a number of factors are considered before a traffic signal is installed.
Peterson said he remembered the study being done, and recalled that a light was not installed because of a problem with the signal's timing and traffic flow. A signal is located just one block north at the First Street intersection.