Metal pole shortage delays Cooper-Young intersection revamp

Metal pole shortage delays Cooper-Young intersection revamp
A city contractor will soon replace the traffic light at Cooper and Central, adding signals for pedestrians.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A long-awaited project to add pedestrian signals to a busy Cooper-Young intersection is delayed because a city contractor is waiting for metal utility poles.

Work at Cooper Street and Central Avenue was supposed to begin last December, but could now stretch beyond September.

The intersection has seen heavy vehicle and pedestrian traffic, especially with the rise of Railgarten and other Central Avenue businesses.

While the existing traffic signal provides a protected left turn signal for southbound traffic, there are no dedicated buttons or lights for pedestrians.

People walking in the neighborhood have reported numerous close calls since pedestrians have no warning when the light will change or when oncoming traffic has a turn arrow.

The project calls for a full “modernization” of the intersection, but a city spokesperson said the contractor is still waiting for delivery of the metal signal poles.

Similar delays have been reported at traffic projects across the country, attributed to a major manufacturer’s ownership change and instability in the metals market.

Construction is expected to ramp up next week, starting with new foundations for the incoming poles.

Underground boring for electric cable should start the following week.

“The Contractor will be pushing to complete this project by the end of September,” City of Memphis Traffic Engineering said through a spokesperson.

“However, this delay in the delivery of required materials will more than likely require an extension of the Contract time. The City of Memphis, Traffic Engineering Department is requesting the Contractor to complete this project as soon as possible.”

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