Upgraded lights, pedestrian crossing improvements coming to Scott Street

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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) -- Wausau is planning improvements for Scott Street between the 2nd and 5th Streets, including pedestrian push buttons, countdown timers, and overhead traffic lights.

Scott Street between 2nd and 3rd streets, October 11 2019. (WSAW Photo)

It’s expected to cost the city $71,429, with a little more than $550 thousand provided through federal funding from the Highway Safety Improvement Program.

City engineer Allen Wesolowski says the city will be replacing the stop lights at the 2nd, 3rd, and 5th streets with overhead masts for the signals for better visibility. Scott Street will go from three 10-foot lanes to two 12-foot lanes, with a 6-foot bike lane. Each lane will have its own overhead signal, and each mast will be installed with a pedestrian push button and audible countdown timer for the blind--something that currently only exists at the intersection of Second Street.

"We analyzed the intersections, and we noticed the high crash rates--or higher crash rates than normal," Wesolowski explained. That made them eligible for the federal highway safety grant that's funding most of the upgrades. A 2018 Wausau police report cites the intersection of 5th and Scott Street as number 4 on the top ten crash spots in Wausau.

"Another thing we're gonna do is light the intersections. The existing lights, the decorative lights, will stay. But we're gonna add new lighting on taller poles at the intersections to help light things up." That includes the intersection at 4th street, which doesn't currently have a traffic light and won't be getting one with the upgrades.

The public is encouraged to come out for an educational meeting on the improvements on October 16 between 4:30 and 6 p.m. in the Council Chambers at Wausau City Hall.