Cecil, Peters to get state help for traffic light projects

May 19, 2017
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Mark Marietta/Observer-Reporter
Traffic often backs up on Southpointe Boulevard during afternoon rush hour near the ramp to Interstate 79. A state grant announced last week will provide Cecil Township with money for improvements to signal systems along the corridor. Order a Print
Image description
Mark Marietta/Observer-Reporter
Commuters have come to expect backups along Southpointe Boulevard. Cecil Township has received grant money to make signal system improvements that should ease traffic flow. Order a Print

Two Washington County municipalities will receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in state funds each to use for upgrades to traffic lights.

Gov. Tom Wolf’s office announced last week a total of $33 million for signal upgrades in 94 municipalities, including in Cecil and Peters townships.

“The intent is to try to reach as many municipalities, because improving traffic signals really goes a long way toward improving traffic flow,” said Rich Kirkpatrick, a spokesman for the state Department of Transportation in Harrisburg.

The state allotted $416,850 for system upgrades at seven intersections along the Southpointe Boulevard corridor.

Minutes from a Sept. 6 meeting, when Cecil supervisors voted to apply for the grant, indicate the funds would be used to modify existing signals in the corridor to make them adaptive to real-time traffic conditions.

The $382,950 grant to Peters will go toward replacing the existing signal heads, poles and controller at the busy intersection of Valley Brook and East McMurray roads, and incorporating the adjacent intersection of Thomas Road with East McMurray into signal patterns, said township Manager Paul Lauer.

The new lights will use “smart” technology that keeps track of traffic passing through the intersection and adjusts its timing to improve traffic flow.

“In doing so, it will increase the capacity of that intersection to handle traffic,” Lauer said.

He added the changes “should alleviate the problems of left-hand turns” in and out of Thomas Road.

The state is distributing the funds through the “Green Light-Go” program, created as part of Act 89, a transportation-funding plan passed in 2013.

A law passed last year reduced the matching requirement for municipalities from 50 percent to 20 percent of the state assistance, Kirkpatrick said.

He said Cecil officials told PennDOT they plan to use a combination of private funds and general fund money.

“These plans may be subject to change at the municipalities’ discretion until there is an executed agreement between PennDOT and the municipalities,” Kirkpatrick said.

Lauer said Peters officials plan to use capital project funds to pay its share of the costs.

Bridgeville also will receive $213,282 to install adaptive signal equipment and software along Washington Avenue at its intersections with Station Street, Bower Hlll Road and Prestley Road.

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