February 6, 2014

The emergency mechanisms already exist in the far east and west parts of Carroll.

Signals at the U.S. Highway 30 intersections with Griffith Road and Market Street (the latter essentially serving Walmart) are equipped with traffic signal pre-emptors, devices that quickly turn lights green so emergency vehicles can move more speedily through the intersections.

The lights, says Carroll Fire Chief Greg Schreck, are tripped to emergency status through the "yelping" of the emergency sirens from police, fire, ambulance and certain other public-safety vehicles. They provide enough time for private vehicles in the intersections or entering to get through before flashing to green.

The city's budget for next fiscal year includes $15,000 for the placement of pre-emption equipment at the intersection of U.S. Highway 30 and U.S Highway 71. The lights would only be set, for now, to go auto green for east-west emergency traffic, Schreck said.

Once the intersection at U.S. 30 and Grant Road is reconfigured following the departure of Casey's General Store, the city plans to install pre-emptors there. Long term, the city will consider them for all signalized intersections, although it remains an open question as to whether Carroll needs to retain all of the existing traffic lights. Signals aren't warranted by government standards, for example, at Court Street and U.S. 30.

The city is responsible for maintaining the traffic lights even though they control traffic on a federal highway, said City Public Works Director Randy Krauel who said the Iowa Department of Transportation is being notified of the 30/71 pre-emptor addition.