By Lee Weyhrich
CLAY — After years of battling to install a traffic light at the corner of Clay-Palmerdale Road and Old Springville Road, it looks like things will soon be moving forward.
The holdup for these plans was a corner of property at 6784 Old Springville Road that contained only a single parking place. That corner has been a source of contention since the beginning of Clay as a city, 14 years ago, Councilman Ricky Baker said.
Roger Roper, the owner of Roger’s Quick Stop, didn’t want to have to give up any of his land for the city, but he agreed to sell the corner of his property to the city for close to $9,000, which several members of the council, including City Manager Ronnie Dixon, and City Attorney Alan Summers believe is more than the land is worth.
The other option for the city would be condemnation, but Summers recommended against that due to even higher costs and a slower turnaround.
According to Summers, a condemnation case could spend as much as a year at the circuit court level, costing many thousands of dollars in fees. Regardless of the decision of the probate court, the case could be appealed to the circuit for more money. The city would also be responsible for newspaper advertising of the condemnation, among other expenses.
Summers advised the council to take the $8,800 offer.
“Yes, $8,800 is worth more than that little tract, but when you add all this — and we’re supposed to be stewards of the money and all — I’d far rather see this done,” Summers said.
In January, Dixon said the traffic signal would be better served to be erected with two cantilever poles instead of one. Roper at the time said he’s “all for” a traffic signal at the intersection, but that it could be done in a more “up-to-date” way.
Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Randy Christian said that nine traffic accidents were reported at the intersection of Clay-Palmerdale Road and Old Springville Road in 2013.
The council agreed to pay the $8,800. The transaction could be complete in as little as 30 days, at which time construction for the traffic light could begin. If construction on that project began immediately, it could start before the paving project on Old Springville Road ends.
Road work has already begun at the northern border of Clay on Old Springville Road. The entire project is estimated to take six to eight weeks, Councilman Kevin Small said.
Gary Lloyd contributed to this story.