New traffic gates expected to replace Speedway bollards

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A UTPD vehicle stops to cross road bollards installed in front of the Perry Castañeda Library on East 21st St. The hydrolic bollards will be replaced by more cost-efficient traffic gates; the project is to be completed by the end of summer.

Photo Credit: Pedro Luna | Daily Texan Staff

UT Parking and Transportation Services is installing new traffic gates to replace the traffic bollards along Speedway Mall.

Blanca Gamez, associate director of UT Parking and Transportation Services, said PTS decided to install traffic gates because the hydraulic-powered bollards — metal cylinders that raise and lower to control traffic — were frequently damaged and are expensive to fix.

“Each time a bollard is damaged, the bollard is placed out of commission and results in costly repairs,” Gamez said. “If a gate arm is damaged, it can be fairly easily and quickly replaced by Parking and Transportation Services, unlike the bollards, which require specialized service by an outside firm.”

Gamez said the total cost for the gate arms and installation is under $50,000, which is funded by the Speedway Mall project. The four gates are expected to be installed by the end of this summer.

“When installation is complete, there will be two sets of two gates installed on campus,” Gamez said. “The locations include 21st and Speedway and 24th and Speedway. There is one set of gates on the west side of 21st near the PCL and one on the east side near Gregory.”

Bobby Stone, director of UT Parking and Transportation Services, said the bollards were initially subcontracted in 2017 for $291,838, including the cost of installation. The cost of repairs ranges from less than $1,000 to more than $20,000 per repair and varies based on the damage caused, he said.

“The hydraulic bollards were originally selected and installed as part of the Speedway Mall project for their appearance and because they have been used successfully in many other locations,” said Laurie Lentz, communications manager for Financial and Administrative Services.

Because the gate arms will be kept down, UT Police Department Lt. Robert Stock said police, fire and EMS will still have access to campus streets.

“Emergency vehicles, facilities services and authorized special event guests will have access to the area much like they did with the bollards,” Stock said. “Emergency responders have transponders on their vehicles that automatically raise the gates when they approach the entrance.”

Business sophomore Magnus Sperbund said regardless of price, he thinks both the bollards and traffic gates are effective ways to keep campus safe.

“It actually feels a lot safer here than at most campuses,” Sperbund said. “I went to the University of Texas at San Antonio last year, and cars could just drive anywhere, but here it feels a lot safer to walk around.”