City Will Fix Traffic Lights, Pavement Markings in VC

The Valley City City Commission approved bids for the repair of malfunctioning traffic lights and improvement to pavement markings on concrete roads Monday during their regular meeting.

The city commission approved the low bid and awarded contract to Northstar Safety, Inc. for pavement marking improvements in the amount of $119,406.20. The project is funded by state highway money, which the city receives annually.

The pavement marking improvements will be made to concrete roads, Eight Avenue Southwest, Central Avenue and Winter Show Road, as well as parking painting on asphalt areas in town.

Erik Gilbertson from city engineering firm Kadrmas, Lee and Jackson said the contractor is ready to go and will start the project soon.

The city commission approved Valley City Public Works’ recommendation for the bid from Brown Traffic Products for the replacement of the five malfunctioning traffic signal controllers along Central Avenue.

The lights have been malfunctioning for several weeks and have been temporarily turned into a four-way stop with constant flashing red lights.

Brown Traffic Products, which is a company Public Works has worked with in the past, bid $40,951, which does not include installation cost. The estimated time of delivery is 90 days.

The commission would like to see the repairs done earlier, but all four bidders gave an approximately 90-day timeframe for delivery.

“People on Central are going right through (the lights),” Mayor Bob Werkhoven said, “Especially with school starting, then it will be a riot out there.”

Public Works hopes to have the traffic lights working again by the end of the year.

In other business, the city discussed the creation of a perpetual restrictive covenant, which would “prohibit any type of construction or building other than what would be necessary for flood control, permitted infrastructure, paved surfaces and bridges” being built on properties the city has bought out for the voluntary acquisition program, City Attorney Russell Myhre said.

The restrictive covenant is in accordance with the city’s contract with the State Water Commission, which provided $3 million in funds to the city’s flood buyout program.

No decision was made No decision was made, and the city will discuss the issue further Monday morning during a special meeting.

Police Chief Fred Thompson ended the meeting by announcing the Valley City Police Department’s policy change for handling 911 calls. He said that past practice of the police department had been that if a dispatcher was able to talk to somebody over the phone, a decision would be made based on that conversation as to whether or not they would send a police officer to the location.

“That is not best practices, and it’s not the best way to operate,” Thompson said.

From now on, if the department receives a 911 call and they have a location where that call came from, they will send an officer.

“It doesn’t matter if the dispatcher talks to a child on the phone and then talks to the mom and mom says, ‘that was just my kid playing with the phone.’ Doesn’t matter if they say there’s no problem here. We will send a police officer to every 911 call where we have an address to go to,” Thompson said.

“I’d rather go to a thousand of those calls than miss one where somebody really needs our help,” said Thompson.

Brown Traffic Products, which is a company Public Works has worked with in the past, bid $40,951, which does