Airport Road light will save money |

Airport Road light will save money

by Cameron Pedego

There are a number of good reasons why Airport Road needs a signal. Reasons that I would think the county commissioners would want to address. There have been many accidents and perhaps deaths at this intersection. These in themselves should have been addressed by the county commissioners long ago. Allowing the commissioners to say “It isn’t their decision” is a cop out.

Traffic on Airport Road has grown as the airport and as industry down Airport Road has grown. These issues should also be justification for addressing the problem. However, there exists one additional issue that I attempted to address in a previous editorial.

This issue is costing taxpayers money. It is also a burden on the county budget. This issue was brought to the county’s attention back in October 2006. A copy of the letter that was written at that time is below. Perhaps some of the costs have gone up, such as fuel charges for one. Perhaps the costs are closer to $100,000 a year. That would make the cost to date of over $500,000. This is a cost that taxpayers have had to pay.

Will the taxpayers have to pay an additional $500,000 or can the county come up with a political justification to install a light at Airport Road and 395.

Each day, during the school months, the county directs about 25 buses to drive approximately five miles on each route to eliminate the need to use the Airport Road and 395 intersection.

These buses must drive up to Johnson Lane from the bus terminal yard on Airport Road, then west to 395, then south to Airport Road because they consider the Airport Road and 395 intersection to be unsafe. This is a fact that should be addressed. Perhaps this analysis will help motivate alternatives for improving the intersection safety.

It is assumed this route is taken because county responsible managers do want to make the Airport Road/395 intersection acceptably safe for their drivers. It should be noted that all buses do not contain students during these trips. In addition, to the added costs for buses to take this route it is also used by all other state and county vehicles traveling between the storage yard and points south of Airport Road.

Safety is a hard justification since all the vehicles taking this route need to make their way onto Johnson Lane from Heybourne without a traffic light. In addition, often there is a resultant line of 10 or more buses at the intersection of Johnson Lane and 395 waiting for a signal change. Why not fix the safety issue at Airport Road and 395 rather than spend this money year after year? I estimate the county spends an extra $90,000 a year by having buses to take this extra mileage route.

Buses average 5 miles per gallon

Diesel costs $2.47 per gallon

The trip adds over 10 minutes to each trip

Bus drivers salary average with overheads $19 per hour

Bus maintenance charges $0.50 per mile

Average number of trips taken each day 3

Number of buses traveling this route 25

Number of days in each school year 180

Total number of trips taken each school year 9000

Total cost per trip $10

* – At times there are more than 10 buses sitting on Heybourne waiting their turn to get onto Johnson Lane. This delay often takes an additional 5 minutes. Totals – $90,000 a year

Cameron Pedego is a Minden resident.