A $2.8 milion signal timing project that could affect traffic lights on Oak Ridge Turnpike would be eligible for 100 percent federal funding, according to a resolution to be considered by Oak Ridge City Council members on Monday.
The project, the second phase of a project to improve the city’s traffic signal system, could cost $2.86 million, and it would focus on 14 locations along a 2.7-mile section of Oak Ridge Turnpike between Illinois Avenue and Florida Avenue. It would include:
- the installation of advanced traffic controllers at 11 intersections,
- the installation of aerial and underground fiber optic cables to connect all 14 signals within the city’s existing fiber network,
- the replacement of loop detectors with radar vehicle detection at stop lights, and
- the establishment of a traffic operations center that would be located in the Oak Ridge Central Services Complex on Woodbury Lane to manage the signals.
In addition, the city would replace older existing traffic signal heads with LED signals that operate more efficiently, more reliably, and provide better visibility, according to a memo that accompanies the resolution and was written by Oak Ridge Public Works Director Shira McWaters. She said new pedestrian-accessible signals would be installed at appropriate locations along with new signing and pavement marking upgrades. And two signals would also be reconstructed to receive new mast arms.
City Council members on Monday will consider whether to submit a project initiation form for the grant funding of the project and to grant approval to execute a contract to accept the funding.
The phase two funding of the project is from Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality, or CMAQ, funds. The funding was awarded in July, pending approval by Oak Ridge City Council and submission of the initiation form and supporting documentation to the Tennessee Department of Transportation. In August, the project was added to the Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization Transportation Improvement Program for Fiscal Year 2017-Fiscal Year 2020.
The federal CMAQ program was established to fund transportation projects in non-attainment areas that will reduce transportation-related congestion and emissions, McWaters said in the memo. Several counties around Knoxville, including Anderson County, are in non-attainment for ozone and are eligible to receive CMAQ funds by the Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization.
The previous CMAQ-funded project was completed on March 2016. Phase one included the retiming of 27 intersections and an assessment of communications, McWaters said.
Some work on this project could be done at the same time as work on another project. In 2016, the city was awarded a $927,021 multimodal access grant to improve pedestrian connectivity on South Illinois Avenue and Oak Ridge Turnpike. In 2017, Kimley-Horn Engineers was chosen to design the project and is currently at the 30 percent design phase, McWaters said. Many of the locations to receive improvements through the multimodal project are the same locations where new pedestrian-accessible signals would be installed under the CMAQ grant. Public Works has requested, and TDOT has agreed, to allow the two projects to be constructed at the same time, McWaters said.
“This will prevent the work done under one project from being disturbed during the other project,” McWaters said. “TDOT has agreed to extend the time for both projects until December 2020.”
The City Council meets at 7 p.m. Monday in the Oak Ridge Municipal Building Courtroom. You can see the agenda here.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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