Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

October 23, 2013

New signals for beautification, not enforcement, mayor says

Mike James
The Independent

IRONTON — Drivers coming into Ironton from the Ironton-Russell Bridge will notice new decorative street light and traffic signal posts when they roll down the ramp and turn onto Adams Avenue.

The more observant ones will notice something else — camera housings and motion sensors mounted high atop the posts.

Mayor Rich Blankenship has two main things to say about the new features: first, the lights and posts beautify Ironton’s downtown, replacing aging and decrepit signals. Second, the cameras aren’t going to be used for catching motorists who speed or run red lights.

 The signals are part of a $1.4 million project to improve six of the city’s downtown intersections. Six intersections get the new signals. Two are on Adams Street at Second and Third streets, and the others are at the intersections of Park Avenue with Third, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth streets.

Federal and state money paid for most of the work, and the city’s share was $20,000, Blankenship said.

The cameras are connected to monitors at the city police station and will be used for accident reconstruction and investigations.

They won’t be used as red-light cameras, Blankenship said. Using them for that purpose would require additional devices and technology. Blankenship said he opposes using cameras to catch speeders. “I don’t like the idea. My advice is follow the signals and you’ll be OK.”

The new signals are fully operational and the old ones have been dismantled and removed. “They were being held together by duct tape, literally,” he said.

Also part of the project is rebuilding some curbs and painting crosswalks.

Although the work is taking place at the same time workers are building approaches to the new Ironton-Russell bridge, the two projects are separate, he said.

MIKE JAMES can be reached at mjames@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2652.