Plans for a stoplight at a busy intersection near Badger High School could be moving forward within a few months.
Lake Geneva Mayor Tom Hartz said he is in the process of drafting an agreement between the city and the town of Bloomfield to install a four-way stoplight at the intersection of state Highway 120 and Bloomfield Road.
Half of the intersection is in the city, and half is in the town.
The Walworth County Traffic Safety Commission last year asked state highway planners to study whether stoplights were warranted at that intersection. Hartz said the state determined that traffic signals were needed.
“That’s when we went to the town and asked if they would be interested in partnering with us,” he said. “That’s how this whole thing got started.”
Town Chairman Daniel Schoonover said he agrees that stoplights are needed because of heavy traffic in that area.
“With all the traffic that has gone on there with all the new developments from Lake Geneva, I think it is needed,” he said. “You also have the schools and churches in the area.”
Schoonover said town officials are waiting for Lake Geneva to present a partnership deal. He was uncertain when the town board would vote on the matter.
“We discussed it once,” he said, referring to Hartz. “I haven’t heard back from him. I’m assuming he’s still working on it.”
State officials estimated that a stoplight could cost as much as $750,000, although city estimates have run closer to $250,000
Hartz said an engineering study will be needed to establish more precise cost projections, based on such issues as whether the stoplights will include left-turn signals and walk/no-walk signals.
Hartz said the agreement with the town of Bloomfield will set out not only a cost-sharing plan, but also which community would be responsible for installing the stoplight and which would be responsible for maintaining it.
The mayor said he hopes to have agreement drafted by the end of October.
“There’s a lot of individual parts to it, so we have to determine who is responsible for what,” he said.
The agreement will need approval from both the city council and town board. Hartz said the city council could vote on the proposal by the end of November.
“I’m very excited,” he said. “It’s something that has been needed for awhile.”
The intersection is a busy one for parents, students and employees heading to both Badger High School and the nearby Lake Geneva Middle School.
Lake Geneva School Superintendent Jim Gottinger said school officials, too, have been asking for a stoplight for several years.
“It’s a high-traffic area,” he said.
Gottinger said the school district would be willing to work with the city and town, although it was not clear if he meant helping to pay the cost.
“It’s great that the city of Lake Geneva and town of Bloomfield are working together,” he said. “When an agreement is reached, the school district will offer to be partners in this.”
Hartz said he agrees that stoplights will improve student safety at the intersection.
“It’s good news for the school district,” he said.
Gottinger said he looks forward to the traffic signals being installed.
“If it comes to fruition,” he said, “it will be a happy day.”