A traffic light timing study is under way, and new plans could be implemented early this year, city officials said in December.
Oak Ridge Today asked about the signal timing project during a December interview with Oak Ridge Electric Director Jack Suggs and Jon van Eek, power utilization program supervisor in the Oak Ridge Electric Department. That interview focused on radar-based traffic detectors at six intersections in Oak Ridge.
The City of Oak Ridge announced in September 2014 that it had been awarded a Tennessee Department of Transportation grant for $237,500 for a signal timing optimization project.
Suggs and van Eek said the timing study is under way, and they hope to have new plans implemented after January 1, 2016. The plan is to move the maximum number of cars in all directions and to move the maximum number of vehicles, Suggs said.
The signal timing optimization grant is funded by the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program, or CMAQ, which supports transportation projects that reduce air emissions from on-road sources and non-road sources, as well as projects that reduce traffic congestion, a press release said.
“The city is pleased to receive this grant which will significantly enhance air quality and reduce congested roadways,” former Oak Ridge City Engineer Steve Byrd said at the time.
The signal timing optimization project will target 26 traffic signals on Illinois Avenue, Oak Ridge Turnpike, and Lafayette Drive. The program will synchronize these lights in order to improve traffic flow, reduce congestion and vehicle idling, and decrease commuter travel time.
This project was also expected to support the city’s Climate Action Plan, which was developed by the Environmental Quality Advisory Board and adopted by City Council. This plan is part of an initiative to make Oak Ridge more sustainable, attract and retain new residents and businesses, and reduce the city’s greenhouse gas emissions.
The TDOT grant was expected to allow the city to collect informative data about traffic patterns. These data include turning movements at each intersection, existing signal timing data, infrastructure deficiencies, and travel time runs. Once data is gathered, timing plans will be implemented and adjusted if necessary.
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