The city of Delaware’s extensive traffic signal upgrade project, which began last December, is progressing albeit at a slightly slower pace than originally expected. On Monday, the city provided a progress update, which suggested the entirety of the project should be completed by early 2023 if not still on the original timeline of the end of this year.
Among the key elements of the project is replacing the existing equipment with new circuitry and technology, including fiber optics, for the coming autonomous and connected vehicle needs, as well as signal preemption abilities for public safety.
A central control system will also replace the multiple closed-loop systems currently in place. According to the city, the system will feature coordinated signaling and have adaptive technology that can sense inefficiencies and self-adjust for a better level of service.
The corridors included are both William Street and Central Avenue, from U.S. Route 23 to the western city limits, Sandusky Street from Belle Avenue to Central Avenue, and London Road from Sandusky Street to Pittsburgh Drive.
Installation of uninterruptible power supplies is also included in the project to keep traffic signals working during power outages, as are pedestrian safety and ADA improvements with the addition of push-button crossing pedestals in intersections where foot traffic is busiest. Some of the signals will also have an ADA audio component. This work, including brick and concrete restoration, should be complete in the next two months, the city stated.
Like so many aspects of life, the project’s timeline has been impacted by global supply chain issues. While some portions of intersections have been completed, the city is still awaiting materials such as new signal cabinets and signal controllers before intersections can be fully completed.
“Everyone hates waiting on traffic lights and the city, literally, is waiting on traffic lights,” Community Affairs Director Lee Yoakum told The Gazette.
Planning for the project began in 2018 with the study and design phase after the city received a $2.5 million grant from the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission in 2017. The grant was marked specifically for signal upgrades along primary corridors.
The city’s grant-matching contribution is $500,000, which covers the design and right-of-way acquisition and utility relocations if needed, as well as in-house services to cover the construction management and inspection during the construction phases.
Delaware Fire Department levy funds totaling $385,000 will cover the cost to install emergency vehicle preemption equipment at each intersection. The overall project is expected to cost a total of $3,385,272.
A fact sheet for the project provided at the onset of the project stated, ”The goal of this project is to reduce congestion and improve safety as the city continues to grow. The existing traffic control system was installed in 1999, is outdated, and does not include current technology to manage increased vehicle and truck movement along major roadways such as William Street, Central Avenue, Sandusky Street, and London Road.”