Request made for signal light

One vehicle slows to turn north onto Northwest 50th Street Thursday, while another waits to pull out onto Cache Road. A developer has received permission from the City Council to continue with plans to design a traffic signal light at that site, something he said would encourage development of the old Eddie Cordes car dealership directly south of Northwest 50th Street.

The City Council indicated support last week for a plan by a local developer to add a traffic signal light on the western portion of Cache Road.

The proposal for a light at Northwest 50th Street and Cache Road comes from McKee Enterprises LLC, which is interested in developing the old Eddie Cordes car dealership site in the 4800 block of Cache Road, said Deputy City Manager Richard Rogalski.

Rogalski said that site on the south side of Cache Road is directly across from Northwest 50th Street, as it terminates into Cache Road. The area has multiple issues that make development challenging. In addition to the width of the road and high traffic speed, the site is within yards of where Cache Road and Quanah Parker Trailway diverge. A left turn at that site would be difficult, Rogalski said.

Developers have said development of the property is unfeasible without installation of a signal traffic light. Rogalski said a study commissioned by McKee Enterprises and conducted by Traffic Engineering Consultants in 2016 (and validated last month) found that while the area wouldn’t meet the traffic volume warrants required for signalization, it does qualify under traffic accident criteria because there were 45 accidents there from 2016 to 2018. Future development traffic added to the site helps it meet the traffic volume criteria, according to the analysis.

McKee Enterprises needs council approval to continue with its plan to develop and submit construction plans for that traffic signal light. While the developer would be required to pay for that signal light and all associated roadway improvements, city staff said he has indicated he would seek reimbursement for “some or all” of the cost of what is a public improvement through a City Council Policy permitting economic development funds to be used as long as the public money is applied to public infrastructure.

Rogalski estimated the cost of the project would be between $250,000 and $300,000, “not an inexpensive improvement” because of the vehicle stacking lanes, median work and timing needed for the busy and wide intersection.

Ward 4 Councilman Jay Burk said the project is important, explaining there are 20 empty acres at that site that could be developed if a signal light was in place.

Ward 6 Councilman Sean Fortenbaugh, a west Lawton resident, said he has seen accidents at the location because of its proximity to two “high speed roads” (Quanah Parker Trailway and Cache Road) merging there, coupled with traffic emerging from a nearby fast food restaurant.

Council members said construction designs for the signalization project would have to come back to that body for approval before being built. City administrators said council approval of the construction project would not obligate the governing body to approve an application for development assistance.

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