The Watchdog | Traffic signal comes and goes

The problem

This sounds like one for Encyclopedia Brown, the boy detective in a series of books beloved by the grade-school set. But because Encyclopedia is fictional, it’s up to The Watchdog to solve the case of the disappearing traffic signal.

The Dog’s client is Mark Scofield of Raytown, who drives twice a day through the Manchester Trafficway/Stadium Drive intersection.

It’s usually a four-way stop, but last year a signal was installed for about two months, then removed in favor of stop signs again. The same thing happened several years ago.

Scofield asks a reasonable question: What’s the deal?

The answer

The signals were installed when the Missouri Department of Transportation was repairing the Manchester Bridge —and removed when traffic returned to normal.

It’s not uncommon to install temporary signals to help motorists through construction detours, said MoDOT spokesman Steve Porter.

Without signals, Porter said, some detours can cause traffic to back up onto the interstate.

In this spot, the larger problem is that the Manchester Bridge, which takes Interstate 70 over Manchester Trafficway, has problems. One difficulty is that a new concrete surface isn’t bonding correctly and keeps breaking.

A new bridge would be nice, but the state can’t afford it now. So don’t be surprised to see more construction — and maybe another traffic signal that goes up and quickly comes down.

Now that he’s solved this case, The Watchdog aspires to be a real cop.