Oak Ridge has received a $237,500 air quality grant that will be used to coordinate the operations of traffic signals at 26 intersections on three main roads: Illinois Avenue, Oak Ridge Turnpike, and Lafayette Drive.
The grant will improve the management of current and future traffic flow and reduce congestion and vehicle idling, according to a project summary posted by the Tennessee Department of Transportation.
It was one of 31 grants totaling more than $27 million announced in 11 communities across Tennessee on Friday. The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement, or CMAQ, grants were announced by TDOT Commissioner John Schroer.
The grants are meant to reduce congestion and improve air quality. Funded projects include expansions of the TDOT HELP truck program statewide, improvements in traffic signal timing, cleaner transit buses and alternative fuel vehicles purchases, and protected bicycle lanes in Chattanooga. The grants also include a multimodal river port in Clarksville, and expanded transit service in several areas. Another project will include the addition of a bicycle-pedestrian trail on the Harahan Bridge in downtown Memphis.
The Oak Ridge project is known as a signal timing optimization program. It uses $237,500 in CMAQ funds and is 100 percent federally funded, according to the project summary.
“These projects are helping our transportation network operate more efficiently, while also providing better transportation options for our citizens,” Schroer said. “The result will be better air quality and reduced congestion, which improves the quality of life for Tennesseans and creates more livable communities all over the state.”
The CMAQ Program funds transportation projects that reduce air emissions from on-road sources (cars, trucks, buses) and non-road sources (locomotives, barges, road construction equipment), as well as projects that reduce traffic congestion. CMAQ projects are limited to nonattainment or maintenance counties where air quality fails to attain national health standards. For most CMAQ projects, TDOT will provide 80 percent of the project funding, with the remaining 20 percent provided by the local project sponsor.
“From better traffic signal coordination in Gatlinburg to expanded park and ride options for several Memphis communities, many of these projects will offer great benefits to travelers across the state,” said Deputy Commissioner Toks Omishakin, chief of TDOT’s Environment and Planning Bureau. “Through this program, we are also making great strides in our efforts to reduce emissions and improve air quality.”
For a list of CMAQ grant recipients and detailed information on each project, visit http://www.tdot.state.tn.us/news/2014/cmaq/.