A return to normal on Sharon Avenue

Laurel Schmidt

With the completion of construction on College Avenue, two-way traffic is now restored. Along with this, the Southbound US 41 detour via Sharon Avenue has been lifted and the intersections have reverted to four-way stops. 

The end of construction signified the need for a decision regarding the temporary stop lights located on Sharon Avenue, which had been debated upon since their installation. The lights were initially installed to account for the increased traffic from the detour. They were scheduled to be removed with four-way flashing stops restored at the end of the construction and detour. Along with both positive and negative feedback from the community regarding the stop lights, MDOT made an offer to Houghton for the city to purchase the lights at a discounted price. 

At the latest Houghton City Council meeting, a recommendation from Eric Warra, Houghton’s City Manager, was considered in regards to the stoplights. The biggest concern from Waara was the costs associated with keeping the lights at the intersections. There would be investments needed to add left turn lanes, pedestrian crossings, and winter weather proofing. These are just a few of the reasons given to support Waara’s recommendation to remove the lights and revert to the former traffic flow on Sharon Avenue. 

The City Council at the Nov. 9 meeting heard this recommendation and agreed with Waara. The stoplights on Sharon Avenue are currently programmed to behave as four-way flashing stops. MDOT will be installing new LED four-way flashing stops at these intersections.