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Council reverses Hwy. 30 roundabout lighting plan
June 28, 2013 · Jennifer Pandich

In a reversal of a previous decision, the Mount Vernon City Council last week unanimously approved more lights for the roundabout at Hwys. 30 and 1. The council approved eight lights for the intersection, following the recommendation of city staff. Council members had previously cut the number of lights to four.

The cost for all lighting is $56,510.

City engineer Dan Boggs, police chief Mark Winder and city administrator Mike Beimer recommended that the number of lights be eight.

"A roundabout on a federal aid system highway is not consistent with typical driver expectations," they wrote in a memo to council. They added that raised medians that begin "well before entering the roundabout ... should be visible to the approaching motorist both day and night."

Boggs emphasized installing a light over the crosswalk on the eastern side of the roundabout on Hwy. 30 if the city council decided to have fewer than eight lights.

During the discussion, council member Slaton Anthony commented that there are currently no lights at the intersection, and that any lights would be better than what is currently there. Anthony then motioned to add a fifth light over the crosswalk to the four previously approved by council.

Council member Marty Christensen asked Boggs about standards for lighting. Boggs replied that Iowa has no standards and part of the recommendation was based on the Minnesota Department of Transportation standards. Minnesota's standards indicate having four lights instead of eight would lower the illumination rating from medium to low.

Christensen than asked if there had been any measurements of the light that is currently at the intersection. Boggs replied no.

Boggs added that the white lights have a design like a shoe box to point the lights down, reducing light pollution. In their memo, city staffers wrote that there are "dark sky" features in the LED light fixtures "to control the spilling of light away from the highway pavement and also upwards."

Christensen then made a motion to accept staff recommendations and put eight lights at the intersection. The motion was seconded by council member Jamie Hampton, and the council unanimously approved the change.

Winder also noted that there have been five accidents in the construction zone, all caused by human error.

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