New Traffic Light Cautioning Drivers Along Baker Street Extension

BUSTI – There are new traffic lights along Baker Street Extension urging people to slow down as they approach Southwestern Drive.

John Bremmer, county engineer III, said sometime in the next month the new lights will start blinking, cautioning people to slow down as they approach the intersection. He said the lights were mostly funded through a federal program titled ”High Risk Rural Roads Program.”

”This program had funding for safety relating to highways, and this area met the criteria,” he said. ”Ninety percent was funded federally, the state funded 7.5 percent and the county only had to pay 2.5 percent.”

Bremmer said the county received money for two areas to install lights, the one on Baker Street Extension and one an intersection in the north part of the county. He said the cost is around $20,000 for just the light at Baker Street Extension.

John Bentley, Lakewood-Busti Police Department chief, said for years county and town officials have been adding new items to the intersection to make it safer.

”Since I started here, we’ve put the light up, we’ve increased the size of the stop signs, we’ve put signs up on the north and south saying that cross traffic does not stop, we’ve put reflectors on the stop sign and we continue to have serious accidents there,” he said. ”This is our latest attempt to make the intersection safer. The yellow sign says 45 miles per hour, indicating to use caution, but it is only a suggested speed limit, not a mandatory speed limit.”

Bentley said officers in his department routinely patrol the area, and often catch people speeding.

”The guys are writing tickets for 15 to 20 miles over the speed limit there,” he said.

Bentley said, if he could, he would also like to see similar lights at the intersection of Hunt and Big Tree roads. He said that is another intersection where his officers catch people traveling at high rates of speed.

”We have a flashing light there, oversized stop signs, we’ve done a number of things. At sometime we might have to look at similar lights there too,” he said. ”One thing we did do on Hunt was reduce the speed limit to 45. That has helped reduce the seriousness of some of the accidents.”