A statewide effort to reduce wrecks at intersections with traffic signals along state and federal highways will begin this spring in Seymour and two other southern Indiana cities.

The Indiana Department of Transportation plans to change traffic signal heads in mid-May at a dozen intersections along Tipton Street (U.S. 50) between Airport Road on Seymour’s west side to U.S. 31 on the east side of the city.

Spokesman Harry Maginity said Tuesday that motorists will experience minimal traffic issues during the changeovers in Seymour, where U.S. 50 is four lanes with a fifth left turn lane.

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“They might have to make a jog around a truck,” he said.

Maginity said the new signal heads will provide greater contrast between the black back plate and the rectangle reflective border — making the new traffic signals easier to see.

The 3-inch yellow reflective border also will alert drivers of the signal’s presence during a power outage when the signal is not working, he said.

One Federal Highway Administration study documented a crash reduction of 28.6 percent after installation of the new signal heads.

Reduction in personal-injury crashes was 36.7 percent. Reduction in late night/early morning crashes was 49.6 percent.

INDOT officials recently met with installers representing Michiana Contracting of Plymouth at the Seymour District offices to finalize plans for the signal change-out, which involves 346 traffic signals.

The state’s $295,763 contract calls for installations to be completed by July 31.

The intersections along U.S. 50 (Tipton Street) in Seymour are at U.S. 31, Sandy Creek Drive, Meadowbrook Drive, Burkart Boulevard, Jackson Park Drive, O’Brien Street, Broadway Street, Chestnut Street, Walnut Street, Pine Street, Community Drive and Airport Road.

The traffic signal heads at three intersections in Brownstown will not be changed at this time, Maginity said.

Other projects scheduled to start in May include U.S. 31 in Greenwood and State Road 46 in Bloomington.

In the future, whenever a traffic signal along a state or federal highway stops working, it will be replaced with the new signal, Maginity said.

“We will introduce this bit-by-bit over time,” he said.

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Aubrey Woods is editor of The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at awoods@tribtown.com or 812-523-7051.