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Town brings new life to aging traffic signals

For months, as motorists whizzed by, a crew of contractors has been cleaning and repainting six traffic signal mast arms around Collierville.
The intersections at Poplar Ave. and Market Blvd.; Byhalia Road and Frank Road; Houston Levee Road and Frank Road; Poplar Ave. and Poplar View Parkway; Houston Levee Road and Wolf River Blvd.; and Byhalia Road and Powell Road were included in the $37,786.60 contract completed in early May.
Considered progressive when initially implemented in the late 80’s, Collierville now requires the use of mast arm traffic signals throughout the town as opportunities for upgrades and new signals present themselves.
The town contends that they improve safety, by placing traffic signals in-line with road lanes, and provide a cleaner look, by reducing the number of overhead wires along roadways. When compared to the cluttered look of span wire traffic signals, a substantial improvement in the appearance of an intersection is observed.
An improvement that translates into dollar signs, as the appearance benefits are said to increase property values.
To prepare the mast arms for repainting, contractors removed spots of rust and applied paint through a process called electrostatic painting. The method of applying paint electrostatically creates a stronger surface bond than conventional brush or spray techniques.
Electrostatically painted metalwork must first be grounded, or given a negative charge. The paint is then given a positive charge.
When the paint is sprayed, the positive and negative charges attract to one another like a magnet, adhering the paint to the metal surface.
Electrostatic painting provides a wraparound effect, coating hard-to-reach areas that other painting methods cannot. The result is an extremely
high quality, longer lasting finish without overspray.
The chosen paint color, Collierville Green, is exclusively mixed for the Town and is familiar to anyone who has viewed the water tower, located in the Heart of Collierville.
“By the early 90’s, Collierville Green had become a town standard,” recalled James Lewellen, Town Administrator. “It not only evokes images reminiscent of the Old South, but also contributes to the historic look and feel of the Town.”
Lewellen also noted that the ornate mast arm traffic signals are a deliberate attempt to mimic historical cast iron street fixtures.
This type of cohesive planning maintains the town’s attractiveness for the long term by marrying historic preservation to development.
Town Engineer Dale Perryman agreed.
“This project goes beyond aesthetics,” he said. “It’s about continuing preservation.”
Perryman also stated that the mast arms need to be painted every ten years; a preventative maintenance measure that translates into significant cost savings.
“If you apply coatings correctly to protect the structure, it can considerably extend the lifetime of that mast arm,” he said.
The town has budgeted to repaint more mast arms over the next year, pending future approval from the Board of Mayor and Alderman.

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