MOUNT VERNON — There have been a few snags, but improvements for the railroad crossing at Parrott and South Main streets will make things safer for motorists and pedestrians, Mount Vernon City officials said Friday.
The improvements include an early warning system that activates when a train is 24 seconds away. City Engineer Brian Ball said as a train approaches, the intersection will shut down for all traffic but the left turn to Main. This will allow the intersection to be cleared before the gate arms come down.
The intersection will also feature signals for pedestrians at the tracks.
One of the pedestrian signals was uprooted after it was found to be in the exact spot where a new gate arm was to go in. Streets Superintendent Tom Hinkle said the pedestrian signal had been installed previously as part of the intersection improvements. Removal included pulling out the signal pole and pouring a new concrete base.
Traffic lights in Mount Vernon have switched over to a new timing system using GPS-set clocks. Hinkle reported that 29 intersections have been converted to the GPS system from the old system that set the timing using an electrical pulse.
The system will keep the timing of the lights. There will be no change to traffic light patterns as a result of the system being installed, Hinkle said.
The current light patterns in Mount Vernon were set in July 2018. Ball said the patterns were set from a model created from data collected on traffic patterns.
A catch basin was rebuilt at Newark Road and Commerce Drive due to damage from heavy trash trucks, Hinkle said. Hinkle said the catch basin has been driven over repeatedly by trash haulers, damaging it to the point it could no longer be repaired.
The last of the new Welcome signs have yet to be installed. Hinkle said it was discovered that the sign scheduled to go up on Vernonview was in the way of a potential sidewalk project. Rather than have to take the sign up again should sidewalks come through, Hinkle said he will find a new spot.
Utilities Superintendent Mathias Orndorf said more than half of the installed MXU water meters are being read remotely.
Orndorf said 4,300 meters are being read online through Flexnet. Flexnet allows the meters to be read at city offices, rather than having to drive by and get readings from equipment inside a city vehicle.
Orndorf said the meter installation program will probably wrap up soon for the summer, though city crews may install a few more. The meters are being installed mostly with summer help.
Tests to find a way to lower water phosphorus levels is expected to continue next week. Orndorf said the EPA will issue a set date in the plant’s next permit when the phosphorus levels must be brought down to EPA standards. Utilities employees have been testing chemicals to treat the phosphorus, but have so far been unable to find one that works.
Parks and Buildings and Grounds
Weekend and after-hours access to restrooms at the CA & C Depot should be provided within the next few weeks, Parks and Buildings and Grounds Superintendent Dave Carpenter said.
Carpenter said a door will be installed that will allow access to the depot’s restrooms, but not the lobby area, which is in use by the Knox County Chamber of Commerce. The chamber recently relocated their offices to the depot, and are using the lobby as a reception area.
The Plaza Building elevator control board was replaced this week. Carpenter said the elevator was on the books to be updated but was replaced because it has experienced intermittent failures recently. The elevator control room will also need a new roofing membrane to keep water out; the room is located on the building roof.
Carpenter further reported that the roof replacement of the maintenance building at Mound View Cemetery was completed this week. The old shingle roof was replaced with a metal roof.
A contractor has been hired to repair the asphalt surface at the skateboard area of Memorial Park. The large cracks will be filled in and the entire surface seal-coated.