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Emergency vehicles have priority at High Street intersection

T-R PHOTO BY MIKE DONAHEY Vehicles pass near or underneath the emergency signals installed to halt traffic should emergency responders approach the intersection at High Street and Sixth Street in Marshalltown. The re-location of police and fire facilities to its new, joint facility at 909 South Second St. made the signals necessary.

New emergency signals installed by the city of Marshalltown at the intersection of High Street and South Sixth Street have worked as designed when tested by emergency responders on their way to calls, Fire Chief David Rierson said Wednesday.

“Responders can activate the signal from High and South Sixth Street,” he said. “There is just not a flashing signal on High Street. High Street traffic comes to a stop for the stop sign, while Sixth Street is through traffic. When activated, the signal stops traffic on Sixth Street when police or fire vehicles are approaching from High Street or South Sixth Street.”

However Rierson confirmed one problem area.

“We are experiencing some issues with one of our vehicles activating the light,” he said. “The system is called Opticom. Each truck has a device that flashes a signal at the Opticom controller located on the signal pole. This signal causes the traffic light to change. We believe we may have to relocate or realign the signal device so the signal is picked up by the controller.”

A number of recent Facebook posts alleged police or fire vehicles west bound on High Street would not be able to access the emergency signals.

The signals were installed earlier this year.

In normal traffic, vehicles have several options.

From High Street:

• Turning left onto South Sixth Street or north onto South Sixth Street.

From South Sixth Street:

• Turning left onto High Street.

• Proceeding south.

• Proceeding north.

The re-location of police and fire headquarters to the new joint facility at 909 South Second Street last month necessitated installation of the emergency signals as part of the $17.5 million construction project.

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Contact Mike Donahey at 641-753-6611

or mdonahey@timesrepublican.com