Traffic lights were recently installed at two major cross streets to Pioneer Boulevard, Turtleback Road and the Grapevine Overpass/Redd Hills Parkway. Such electronic additions come to the city at the significant expense of about $500,000 per intersection.

Are they worth it? In a word: yes.

Mesquite City Engineer Travis Anderson said a 2018 study showed that installing lights at these two locations would provide greater benefit to Mesquite roadways in increased safety and normalization of traffic flow. Four high-traffic intersections were analyzed in that study.

Funding for the two sets of four-way traffic signals comes from the transportation impact fees paid to the city when builders pull permits for residential or commercial development.

Ask pedestrian Steve May, and he will give you a “two thumbs up” on the new lights.

“I have lived in Mesquite about a year and have already seen a couple accidents at the [Pioneer-  Turtleback] intersection,” he said. “I walk every morning and finally quit crossing  Pioneer because it was so dangerous.  My wife was nearly hit one day.  I am glad to have these new lights.”

Turtleback is a major conduit of industrial and construction traffic entering Pioneer, as well as being one of the streets heavily used by police and emergency vehicles. The old pedestrian-activated flashing light at the intersection didn’t slow some of the eastbound vehicles coming over the blind curve hill on Pioneer.

Now a pre-emptive flashing caution light positioned a thousand feet west of the intersection helps give drivers advance caution of conditions ahead, and the four-way stoplight helps assure everybody gets a safe turn at the intersection.

The new light at Pioneer and freeway overpass intersection, Grapevine/Redd Hills Parkway reduces the backup of cars that once waited endlessly for a break in the stream of through traffic on Pioneer Boulevard. Even during Mesquite’s offseason this new traffic light shortens the wait for the cross traffic and reduces the possibility of frustrated drivers playing road roulette as they come off the Grapevine overpass.  Oasis Golf Course carts crossing on the Redd Hills side are now assured they get a chance to cross on green instead of simply depending on driver courtesy.

While it is too early to assess the actual safety impact of these two traffic lights, conventional wisdom indicates there should be less accidents and reduced speeding infractions on Pioneer.  Mesquite Police Sgt. Oliver cautions that while traffic lights help improve vehicular and pedestrian safety, paying close attention to traffic conditions is still the essential factor in personal safety.

Yes, Mesquite isn’t Mayberry anymore.