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Springfield traffic returns to near pre-pandemic levels

Published: May. 3, 2021 at 10:23 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Fewer COVID-19 restrictions means more cars on the roads.

In Springfield, we’ve seen a huge increase in traffic from one year ago.

At the start of the pandemic data shows there was about a 40 percent drop in the amount of cars on the roads, crashes and stalled vehicles were down about 50 percent.

Now traffic is just about where it was before the COVID-19 outbreak.

Traffic engineers are taking a closer look at signal light timing and using new technology to improve commutes.

“Kearney at Kansas. Campbell and Sunshine. Battlefield and Campbell. It’s just ridiculous,” said Lafaye Bowden.

Those are just some of the areas in Springfield she says she avoids when driving.

“It’s getting worse. They need to put more stop signs up, yield signs and everything,” she said.

Hailey Rolffs says she often competes with traffic.

“I always try to catch the lights at a certain time because I know if I don’t I’ll be waiting there a while,” she explains.

Springfield traffic Engineer Tom Dancy said, “It’s not just as simple as providing a green light for everybody as they drive down the road.”

He says his team is working to ease the gridlock that has reached pre-pandemic levels.

“We’ve made improvements with the traffic signal system and new software that has helped us run reports that specifically look at delays,” explained Dancy.

He says sensors have been placed in areas that will track the number of vehicles that get through some of the busiest intersections. They count them at both green and red lights. He says engineers will use that data to modify traffic signal timing.

“We’re still having to expand and get a lot more detectors out to be able to gather that information but it’s exciting to see that we have that available to us. We’re starting to use that and starting to make improvements,” he said.

Rolffs says she’ll just plan ahead until traffic improves.

“I usually have to leave a little earlier,” he said.

Same goes for Bowden.

“I try to get to my destination before rush hour. It’s just ridiculous,” she said.

Officials say one thing we can do to help cut down traffic delays is to put down our phones and pay attention while driving.

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