The traffic engineering world has witnessed quantum leaps in technology over the last 10 years and I am pleased to report that the City of Kent is about to take a giant step forward in our ability to safely and efficiently move traffic along SR 59 with our $3.2 million traffic signal replacement project.
Anyone that drives knows how important signal timing is when it comes to getting from point a to point b — the key is all in the signal coordination. Now, bear in mind that the goal of traffic engineers is not to create a race track, they want you to be able to get to your destination as quickly as is safely possible — with the emphasis on safety.
Most of the signals in the City have individual signal timing patterns that one of our traffic technicians will program into the traffic cabinet located at each intersection. These guys do their best to coordinate the traffic flow from one intersection to the next but it’s still mostly manual trial and error. That’s about to change with this new project on SR 59.
As part of the signal replacement, we will be inter-connecting all the signals in the corridor with fiber optic which means each intersection will be able talk to a centralized traffic computer — and that’s where the magic of technology comes into play. The computer has enormous processing capabilities and cities have been able to use that to greatly improve both the safety and efficiency of traffic flow.
So not only will the streetscape look 100% better, but your drive time should also be significantly improved.
Here’s a short update on the status of the traffic signal replacement project from the City’s Traffic Engineer:
The City of Kent will soon begin to reconstruct existing traffic signals on SR 59 from Middlebury Road to Horning Road and one signal at S. Water Street (SR 43) and Summit Street. Each traffic signal location will be rebuilt with new concrete foundations, pull boxes, conduit, supports and arms, signal heads with back plates, video detection cameras, audible pedestrian heads, push button detection, controllers, fiber optic interconnect and central system software. Additionally, handicapped ramps will be rebuilt at each of the affected intersections, a portion of the existing retaining wall at Midway Drive will be rebuilt and new sign supports will be installed. The existing traffic signals will remain in operation during the work.
Temporary lane closures on SR 59 and on S. Water Street are expected to occur but will be intermittent and will be removed the same day. No overnight closures are anticipated. Driveway and street access off of SR 59 and SR 43 will be maintained. The project is scheduled for completion by September 30, 2011.
Questions regarding the project may be directed to Jon Giaquinto, Senior Engineer, by phone at (330) 678-8106, or to the following e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org.