Crews install traffic light at U.S. 34 Bypass and 83rd Avenue in west Greeley | MyWindsorNow.com

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Crews install traffic light at U.S. 34 Bypass and 83rd Avenue in west Greeley

A new stoplight is functioning at the intersection of U.S. 34 Bypass and 83rd Avenue in west Greeley.

The light, which cost about $125,000 to install, is the product of cooperation between city officials and the Colorado Department of Transportation, Greeley Traffic Engineer Eric Bracke said Wednesday.

"It was definitely a cooperative effort," he said. "Both CDOT and the city recognized that we had a problem out there, and we worked together to get it done quickly."

Bracke said traffic crashes at that intersection jumped to about 30 in 2016 from about 10 in 2015. He said the crashes included serious injuries and fatalities.

"It's such high speed on 34, it's hard to have a crash out there without injuries."

The jump in crashes prompted the decision to replace the stop sign on 83rd Avenue with a traffic signal. He said CDOT paid for most of the cost of the project and did most of the construction. Greeley crews handled the electronics and pavement markings, along with some of the construction.

Initially, crews used a span wire light, instead of one mounted on poles. Bracke said this allowed crews to get a light operating more quickly than they could have if they had used a traditional pole-mounted traffic signal. Eventually, though, crews will install a pole-mounted signal.

He said the light had been up and flashing yellow for about a week to alert drivers to its presence. This week, it began operating fully.

In addition to the spike in crashes at the intersection, it is the site of a horrific crash that took the life of four high school students in the late 1990s. Just hours after receiving his driver's license, a 16-year-old Ault boy ran the stop sign at U.S. 34 on 83rd Avenue and collided with a semitrailer truck, killing himself and three teenage passengers.

The four teens were cruising during their school lunch hour when the accident happened.