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What’s going on with all the work at the city traffic light boxes?

Ken Little

The city of Wilmington is in the midst of signal upgrades at more than 200 intersections. City Traffic Engineer Don Bennett says traffic signals are on a “flat rate schedule for power.”

“It is based on the number and type of signal heads at the intersection,” Bennett says.

Bennett says the contractor has three options for upgrading an intersection. In some cases, the existing concrete foundation for the signal box is extended to provide the proper size for the new cabinet.

In others, “modifications were so extensive that a new foundation is set and the conduits moved to the new foundation,” Bennett says.

The contractor also has the option of installing a new foundation on top of the old one, but hasn’t done that to date.

All traffic signals in Wilmington are operated and maintained by the city under contract with the N.C. Department of Transportation. The signal system in the city has 210 signalized intersections. Of that total, 173 are state-owned and 37 are city-owned, Bennett says.

“The state and the city have collaborated on the replacement of the system and the state is administering the construction contract,” he says. “The city is performing all integration services, in effect tying all the individual signals together into a system.”

Installation of signal upgrades in the city and parts of New Hanover County began in mid-September.

“The new system will allow for better timing and coordination of traffic signals and will result in better traffic flow,” city spokeswoman Malissa Talbert says.

Talbert says work should be complete by year’s end on the first phase of the project, which covers the southern section of the city. The remaining signal installation work should be done by fall 2010, she says.

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