New lighting at Kenan Fountain, located in the middle of the intersection of Market and 5th streets downtown, was revealed to city officials in a ceremony following the city council meeting Tuesday night.
The new overhead lighting scheme was installed to improve visibility and car and pedestrian safety at the busy intersection. It was a joint project between the N.C. Department of Transportation, which maintains the state-owned road, and Musco Lighting, a company that has done the lighting for many national monuments in Washington, D.C., according to Mayor Bill Saffo.
Other improvements that have been made to the intersection include handicapped-accessible sidewalks at all four corners, underground wiring for the lighting and traffic signal and an update to the programming of the traffic and pedestrian signals. According to city spokeswoman Malissa Talbert, the lights will stay red from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. until a vehicle approaches or a pedestrian pushes the “walk” button.
“Traffic is already slowing down, and that did not use to be the case,” Talbert said as she stood on one of the intersection’s corners watching traffic after the unveiling. “I could see it immediately.”
The change is expected to minimize the chance of cars hitting the fountain or pedestrians. The total cost of the project was $88,296.