SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The City of Sioux Falls is testing out a new type of signal to prevent crashes. The system is unlike anything drivers have seen before in the city.
Driving west on 10th Street coming out of downtown Sioux Falls, drivers are forced to make a sharp left-hand curve. That’s where 10th Street merges into west 12th. The curve has been the site of many crashes.
Over the years the city has added high traction pavement, 18-inch curbing, and boulders to protect nearby homes. But those measures haven’t stopped the crashes caused by people simply not paying attention.
“We are still seeing a lot of nighttime inattentive drivers, intoxicated drivers things of that nature,” said City Traffic Engineer Heath Hoftiezer.
Going straight when drivers should curve to the left, has led to four “reported” crashes a year but the real number is probably closer to 20.
“We have a lot of crashes that our maintenance crews have to put signs back up and repair things that are never reported,” said Hoftiezer.
Hoftiezer says the city looked for solutions and came up with this. Chevrons that light up one at a time, guiding the driver through the curve.
The lights talk to each other wirelessly and they are powered by a solar panel right here on top.
The city is installing a second set of light-up chevron signs where Southeastern Avenue turns into Jessica Avenue. There have been a number of crashes at that curve too.
The lights were installed last week and are hard to miss.
“As you drive through you will notice they are synched together so they kind of follow a pattern going through the curve, we’ve been working on what the speed of the pattern should be,” said Hoftiezer.
Hoftiezer says they’ve gotten feedback, some drivers feel if the pattern moves too fast and drivers may feel like they have to speed up, so they will continue to tweak the system. So far engineers are feeling optimistic After all, it’s all about being attentive to the inattentive driver and pointing them in the right direction.