JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A busy Mandarin intersection that had a traffic pole knocked down in a fatal crash in February should have a new pole installed by mid-November, according to the city of Jacksonville. A city spokesperson told the I-TEAM that the long delay is due to manufacturing wait times.
On Feb. 18, a car traveling at an estimated 100 mph knocked down a steel traffic pole at the intersection of San Jose Boulevard and Old St. Augustine Road. As a result, for months following the crash, the pedestrian signal at the intersection wasn't fully operational. After concerned residents contacted the I-TEAM in August, we asked the city about the delays, and a temporary wooden traffic pole was soon installed.
Last week, another crash at the intersection knocked down the temporary wooden pole. Police said a car hopped a curb and ran over the traffic pole that came down in the February crash, before taking out the wooden pole. A replacement wooden pole was installed the same day.
After that crash, the I-TEAM asked the city when the new steel traffic pole would be in place. The city has now responded, saying the replacement is expected to be delivered in mid-November. A city spokesperson said there is currently a six- to nine-month wait time across the country for steel poles like this one. According to the city, the poles are custom-built, with a limited number of companies in the U.S. that meet Florida's stringent hurricane wind-load standards.
The new traffic pole costs $12,400, and the city also had to spend $2,500 to test the concrete foundation under the pole. As part of the process, structural engineers were brought in to inspect the pole, mast arm and foundation, to see which parts could be re-used and which had to be replaced.
The I-TEAM also asked the city what was being done to prevent accidents at the busy intersection. A city spokesperson responded that the two accidents that took down the poles are not common and involved vehicles traveling at high speeds. The city said the February accident involved alcohol and a driver traveling at an estimated 100 mph, and that engineers will review crash data to determine crash trends, and identify roadway features that could possibly reduce the severity of this type of crash.
Some residents had told the I-TEAM that they felt the city dropped the ball with the project to replace the pole. In response, a spokesperson said city officials hope residents understand that the poles are custom-made items, which take time to get from the manufacturer.
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