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BCPD hopes new signs will curb traffic issues

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Brazil City Police Chief Dave Archer sets up one of the department's new barricades that will be used during major traffic incidents in the future. [Order this photo]
Several incidents of major traffic congestion in the city have the Brazil City Police Department looking for answers.

With the city experiencing at least four major traffic congestions and several minor ones throughout a year, Brazil City Police Chief Dave Archer recently told The Brazil Times it is an issue he knows needs a solution.

"We realize there's a problem when Interstate-70 closes," Archer said. "We're out there too, living the problem right alongside our local citizens. Off duty officers, called in to work the situation, have to fight the same traffic. We know it's a problem."

Local traffic along State Road 59 and United States 40 becomes congested when an emergency situation arises on I-70 that closes one or more of the lanes of the roadway.

"When I-70 is closed because of an accident by officials, the Indiana State Police and the Clay County Sheriff's Department are busy with an investigation and trying to get the road back open as fast as possible," Archer said. "In Brazil, we have to fend for ourselves when the traffic is re-routed into our area and bottlenecks the city."

There are several plans to handle traffic congestion in Brazil during an emergency, but the police department is not always notified when the interstate has been closed.

"I'm not complaining, I know what that is like. When an officer is working an accident scene, it's not always a priority to think about traffic problems in another place," Archer said. "It would be nice to be notified, but it's understandable. There's no time for us to stop and complain or to call for help, we have to deal with the problem right then."

With an objective to move traffic quickly through the city, Archer said officers are sent out to direct traffic at intersections in congested areas while traffic lights are set to flashing mode.

"We are working with the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) to be able to have manual control of the lights in the future so we can set the timers to allow for better traffic control, not just on flashing. Setting the lights to flashing is both good and bad," Archer said.

"It helps move the traffic out of the area, but unfortunately it seems local residents pays the price."

However, Archer said it is very helpful when local residents, who know the roadways, drive around congested areas.

"It's very appreciated when several local motorists turn out of the backed-up traffic for an alternate route," Archer said. "Instead of 10 cars, now there is only seven. We also appreciate their patience."

Not all motorists are patient or willing to take directions, according to Archer, who said some motorists ignore officers and drive where they want.

"We've had motorists ignore an officer's directions before," he said. "It might sound strange, but many times, motorists pay better attention to a sign than a police officer."

Archer said the decision to purchase four barricades with eight magnetic signs (several of which are dual sided) came after what some considered the realization of the worst-case scenario.

In June, major flooding caused a huge traffic jam as motorists were diverted onto US 40 and through Brazil as a way to get around flooding on I-70 even though many city, county, state roads were also closed. It lasted for several days and had many people questioning why INDOT wasn't involved.

"INDOT doesn't usually get involved," Archer said. "When an emergency situation arises that closes a portion of I-70, traffic is diverted to the nearest off ramp, which is usually heads the traffic toward us. The department deals with it, but then it becomes a Catch-22. It is hard to explain to someone afterwards just how bad the situation was. They don't have a clue unless they were here to see it for themselves."

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Thank you, Chief Archer ~ just like I stated on a previous article ~ I was confident that you were working on the I-70 accident traffic control ~ a few days as Chief & Brazil already is realizing positive change in our community ~ excellent traffic control during the Bridge Festival & now a resolution for I-70 accident traffic ~ Awesome!

-- Posted by karebabe on Thu, Oct 23, 2008, at 7:38 PM

Thanks Dave. If I can make just one suggestion. Take it or leave it. When the traffic is routed through Brazil make the semi's continue east to 231 or west to 46. The turn at 59 is so tight it takes a long time for just one semi to turn and that backs the traffic up even longer. Maybe someone could monitor a CB channel and warn truckers ahead of time to bypass 59. Just a thought.

-- Posted by Icareaboutbrazil on Fri, Oct 24, 2008, at 7:03 AM

I agree that the semis cause most of the problem. I think it's good for the town to get better lights too, some lights take forever to turn green.

-- Posted by Familyof6 on Fri, Oct 24, 2008, at 7:06 AM

Thank you for trying to solve this problem. I think you are off to a good start!

-- Posted by sassypants on Fri, Oct 24, 2008, at 7:13 AM

Chief Archer should haye been appointed chief a year ago in July when the current mayor was appointed////////////////////////

-- Posted by tinytim on Fri, Oct 24, 2008, at 9:15 AM

A few days as Chief and he thought of a sign. Brilliant!!

-- Posted by I. M. Lee Thall, Esq. on Fri, Oct 24, 2008, at 12:20 PM

You are doing an awesome job Chief!! Because of your appointment, the city is in the best hands it's been in for a long time! Even the bridge festival traffic was controlled and not a nuisance to the locals. God bless you!

-- Posted by just thinking on Fri, Oct 24, 2008, at 1:52 PM

"""A few days as Chief and he thought of a sign. Brilliant!!

-- Posted by Lee Thall on Fri, Oct 24, 2008, at 12:20 PM"""

Lee Thall--idiots like you are what is wrong with this town. I'm sure that no matter what Chief Archer did you would have found a smart remark to make about it.

-- Posted by sceptic on Fri, Oct 24, 2008, at 2:00 PM


You're right ~ Chief Archer is a pretty smart fellow ~ aren't we fortunate to have him at the reins of BPD ~ so far all I have observed are positive changes in our community ~ just a few days as Chief & so many good things are happening!

-- Posted by karebabe on Fri, Oct 24, 2008, at 2:03 PM

karebabe, if he's that good, maybe he can talk White Castle into coming to town?

-- Posted by I. M. Lee Thall, Esq. on Sat, Oct 25, 2008, at 3:10 PM

Lee Thall

Do you think you could do any better??

Dave Archer is a good guy. Did you ever stop the think that he just walk into the problems there were left from the previous chief(s)? Same thing for the mayor. They are just trying to make our city better & it won't happen overnight.

-- Posted by th1953 on Sat, Oct 25, 2008, at 6:55 PM

th1953, I was joking, so get over yourself.

But I will say that if placing a sign indicating a detour route is so ground shattering and innovative that it hasn't been thought of before, then Brazil needs more than a new police chief.

-- Posted by I. M. Lee Thall, Esq. on Sat, Oct 25, 2008, at 9:20 PM

"I agree that the semis cause most of the problem. I think it's good for the town to get better lights too, some lights take forever to turn green."

-- Posted by Familyof6

It isn't an issue of needing NEW lights. The issues is that the city isn't able to control the timing of the light.

-- Posted by GirlHouse on Mon, Oct 27, 2008, at 7:37 AM

Why does everyone get in a tizzy when a handful of times through the year traffic gets detoured and we have to deal with the heavy traffic and semi's flowing through Brazil. If those semi's wheren't on the road hauling frieght you wouldn't have food on your table or clothes on your back. What a little sign is going to do to help in these situations is beyond me but it's a act of being proactive and that's what a leader is supposed to do. If it helps in just a little way that's great, it's more than what was working before the sign was implemented.

-- Posted by hoosiertwins on Sat, Nov 1, 2008, at 9:39 PM

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