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Latest traffic lights in Anna are just the beginning

Joshua Baethge,
The Anna-Melissa Tribune
Traffic lights installed near Anna Town Center in 2019 are one of many new sets of signals that residents can expect to see in the coming years.

ANNA - June brought the addition of two new traffic signals on Powell Parkway in Anna, forcing drivers to adjust their habits and slow down.

It’s something that people may want to get used to doing.

Over the next several years, as the city continues to grow, residents can expect to encounter more traffic lights as they go about their daily routines.

“We’re going to continue to focus on 455 and Highway 5 because we know as traffic volumes increase, they are going to require more signals,” Public Works Director Greg Peters said.

Currently, all of the city's traffic lights were designed by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). That’s because they are located along highways that fall under its jurisdiction.

As city officials identify intersections that may need signals, they reach out to TxDOT and ask the agency to conduct a traffic study.

Once the study is completed, TxDOT decides whether traffic lights are warranted. If they are, funding is secured and the design phase proceeds.

While design and construction decisions are ultimately up to TxDOT, the agency typically allows city officials to review projects and provide feedback.

Peters said the city’s TxDOT contact has “been really attentive to our needs and is always open to helping us out any way she can. She’s been very good for the city.”

Among the factors that lead city officials to consider new signals are greater traffic volume and an increasing numbers of crashes. In the past, this has been a somewhat subjective process based on the perceptions of city staff and neighbors.

Earlier this year, the city of Anna purchased its own traffic counters so that it could conduct formal traffic surveys and share the data with TxDOT.

Of course, the timing of the purchase could not have been worse: The COVID-19 pandemic drastically altered driving patterns, with students staying home from school and many more people working from home.

“Right now, it would be futile,” Peters said. “If we went out and got counts that did not meet criteria, that would not be good information to give to TxDOT because it would be incorrect for the realistic long-term situation.”

Traffic counts are tentatively scheduled to resume in the fall assuming students return to class and workers establish more predictable routines.

The next light Anna residents can expect to see is where County Roads 371 and 377 converge at Highway 5.

TxDOT completed a prerequisite left-turn lane this spring and is now in the process of designing the new signals.

Within the next few years there will likely be new signals where State Highway 5 intersects Rosamond Parkway and where it crosses Finley Boulevard.

While nothing is set in stone, city staff has also been discussing FM 455 with TXDOT officials to determine whether and where to put additional lights.

Eventually there will also probably be a need for signal on larger city streets like Hackberry Drive, West Crossing, Ferguson Parkway, Rosamond Parkway and other future thoroughfares.

These would be the first to be designed entirely by the city and their construction is contingent upon development trends and traffic patterns.

While there is no formal timeline, expect more stop lights to keep the growing community moving.