New traffic signal timing coming to high-traffic Woodbury intersectionWashington County officials announced Thursday that a new traffic control signal at the intersection of Radio Drive and Valley Creek Road should be up an running by the end of the month.
Washington County officials announced Thursday that a new traffic control signal at the intersection of Radio Drive and Valley Creek Road should be up an running by the end of the month.
According to a county press release:
County transportation staff from Washington County will be installing a new coordinated traffic signal control system at the intersection of Radio Drive (County Highway 13) and Valley Creek Road (County Highway 16) and nearby intersections, which is expected to reduce travel times along these arterial roadways.
The new timing will be implemented over the next several weeks and should be operational by late August. On Radio Drive, the new timing system will span from Afton Road/Pioneer Drive to City Centre Drive. On Valley Creek Road, the new timing system will span from Radio Drive to Colby Lake Drive.
Over the past several weeks, crews have been collecting traffic data and developing area-wide timing programs for various traffic conditions including morning, evenings, weekends, and off-peak times. Computerized traffic engineering programs were used to model the flow of traffic along these two corridors and to develop optimized signal timing for the area.
With a coordinated system, green lights should occur sequentially, whenever possible, to allow for efficient flow along the county roads through the area. Drivers should notice a smoother ride and stop less frequently, or for a shorter time, as they travel along these two corridors. The system will also be set up to automatically respond to changes in traffic demands and to identify and report equipment malfunctions so that county maintenance staff can respond in a timely fashion. The system will also be integrated with recently completed signal timing systems to the north and west of the area to provide optimum traffic progression whenever possible.
The intersection of Radio Drive and Valley Creek Road and nearby intersections have been operating under an existing coordination system; however, changes to traffic patterns and increases in traffic volumes have degraded the efficiency of the current system, requiring updated timings to return to efficient operations.
Initially, the timing patterns will change on a predetermined schedule throughout the day. Beginning this fall, the roadway sensors will determine which of the timing patterns to implement based on actual measured traffic conditions and to prioritize the traffic flow for the dominant traffic patterns at that time.
The new signal timing also includes changes to current signal sequences, which will allow for more efficient travel throughout the corridors. Some drivers waiting on the side streets or waiting to make a left turn from the county roads may notice longer wait times than before. However, most drivers will experience an overall reduction in their travel time due to the reduced amount of delay along the county roads. Alterations to some pedestrian crossings will also be made over the next few months to allow the system to stay in the proper sequence.
County traffic engineers expect the new system to significantly reduce travel time through the corridors. Furthermore, this project is expected to save tens of thousands of gallons of fuel per year by reducing stops and vehicle idling, based on results from previous similar projects. Because of these reductions in fuel consumption, pollution, and delay, similar timing projects have shown benefit-to-cost ratios of approximately $40 of savings to the public for every dollar spent on the project.
The cost of the project is approximately $31,000. Because the project is expected to conserve fuel and energy by reducing delay, the project is being funded by a block grant received by Washington County from the U.S. Department of Energy under the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. This project is the third of four signal timing projects being completed by the county under this funding program prior to its expiration in fall 2011.