The mind-blowing price of adding turn signals to Fountain and Fairfax

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Adding protected turn signals to the intersection of Fountain Avenue and Fairfax Avenue won’t come cheap for West Hollywood.

City Council is poised to cut a check for $214,825 to International Line Builders, Inc. to design traffic signal improvements that will provide left-turn arrows on the traffic signal for the north and south approaches at the intersection.

The east and west approaches already have turn signals, so it’s really just half an intersection they will be hired to work on. International Line Builders, Inc., it should be noted, was the lowest bidder on the project. The high bidder, Servitek Electric Inc., asked for more than twice as much: $443,816. 

The proposed signals will be protected-permissive, meaning that you can continue to make left turns after the arrow goes away, as long as there aren’t any cars coming in the opposite direction.

So why is it so expensive?

The first step in adding turn signals involves detailed engineering studies and design work. Engineers need to assess the current traffic patterns, study the feasibility of adding turn signals, and design a system that integrates seamlessly with existing traffic flows. This phase can be costly due to the specialized expertise required.

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Traffic projects must comply with numerous local, state, and federal regulations. Ensuring compliance can involve additional studies, reports, and adjustments to designs, all of which can increase the project’s cost.

Adding turn signals isn’t just about hanging up a new set of lights. It often involves modifying existing infrastructure. This can include upgrading the electrical system to handle the new signals, installing new poles or signal heads, and possibly modifying curbs, medians, or road layout to accommodate the changes safely.

The cost of the turn signals themselves, including the technology to control them (like timers and sensors that adjust the lights based on traffic flow), can be significant. Modern traffic signals use advanced technology designed to maximize efficiency and safety, which adds to the expense.

The actual installation of the signals involves labor, which can be expensive, especially in areas with higher wage standards or when specialized skills are required. The work might also need to be done at night or during off-peak hours to minimize disruption, which can increase labor costs due to overtime or night pay differentials.

During the installation, traffic often needs to be managed with temporary signals or detours, which requires planning and additional resources to ensure safety and minimize disruption. This management also adds to the cost.

After installation, new systems must be thoroughly tested to ensure they work correctly and safely integrate with the existing traffic network. This testing phase can be extensive, depending on the intersection’s complexity.

Beyond the direct costs of materials and labor, there are administrative costs associated with project management, permits, inspections, and potentially even community consultations or public information sessions.

 

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Mike
Mike
18 days ago

City Hall must be pocketing some of the money !

Green Arrows
Green Arrows
18 days ago

Green arrow traffic signals are definitely needed (in all directions) at La Brea and Fountain. It’s a nightmare to try and make a turn. Sometimes it seems to take forever. If the City can do this at Fairfax and Fountain, they can do it at La Brea and Fountain.

Steve Too
Steve Too
18 days ago
Reply to  Green Arrows

La Brea and Fountain is shared with the city of LA. Signal improvements there would be more complicated to complete.

Michael
Michael
17 days ago
Reply to  Steve Too

La Brea (both north and south and east and west sides) from Fountain to Romaine is in the bonds of West Hollywood and all mixed-use, commercial businesses. So, it is not shared with the L.A. unincorporated section.

All of Fountain Ave (street) from the Eastside of La Brea to La Cienega is also West Hollywood, so this section and any traffic calming measures only involve West Hollywood.

Green Arrows
Green Arrows
16 days ago
Reply to  Michael

No, the City of Los Angeles needs to be involved because of technical issues which are located just north of Fountain, outside of the West Hollywood border.

Green Arrows
Green Arrows
17 days ago
Reply to  Steve Too

Correct, but this project is now underway in its very initial stage. And it is only the north side of Fountain (beyond the sidewalk) that is in LA. It is complicated. However, it is also much needed.

John Smith
John Smith
19 days ago

Welcome to California. The highest taxed citizens….led by morons.

WehoQueen
WehoQueen
19 days ago

It would take me about 5 or 10 minutes to design the lights needed, I’ll do it for free. And I would think a reasonable cost for the lights and install would be maybe $5,000. More than that, we are getting robbed. The lights are not Baccarat crystal.

SingleGuyWeHo
SingleGuyWeHo
18 days ago
Reply to  WehoQueen

I’m sure we’d get what we’d be paying for.

Joshua88
Joshua88
19 days ago

Excellent in-depth reporting!

dave
dave
20 days ago

Wasted money since Fountain Ave will be getting a major overhaul that will affect traffic flows in the near future. Why not wait and engineer this intersection as part of that?

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
19 days ago
Reply to  dave

Right, the plan is to reduce Fountain to one lane in each direction to add protected bike lanes. I suppose that makes the need for a left turn signal all the more important.

BloodshotEyedGuy
BloodshotEyedGuy
20 days ago

If they want to hire me instead, it’d be a lot cheaper, sensible, and economical. I’ll stand in the intersection and point left and right during rush hour. It makes more sense than spending that much to improve traffic signals.

Jerome Cleary
Jerome Cleary
20 days ago

jeez

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