Three projects will be done in York County this year.
A trip across Route 30 might be quicker soon — thanks to some new “smart” traffic signals.
Equipment will watch the traffic in real-time and adjust the signals accordingly.
So drivers will have to be observant. The sequence in which vehicles get the green light will likely be different than it is now.
Unfortunately, drivers won’t notice much of a difference during rush hour, said Eric Kinard, signals and congestion management supervisor with the state Department of Transportation. That’s because Route 30 doesn’t have enough lanes to handle the number of vehicles on the road.
But these systems are designed for the off-peak hours, and it will allow drivers to get from one point to another at a much quicker pace.
Three projects are being done in York County:
• Route 30 between Kenneth Road in West Manchester Township to North Hills Road in Springettsbury Township.
• Route 74 from Dover to the City of York as well as part of Richland Avenue. Not all of the lights will be smart signals, but the others will be re-timed to help with the project.
• Route 15 corridor in Carroll Township and Dillsburg. Those smart lights are already working, and crews will be monitoring them. Herr Signal & Lighting Co., Inc. is doing the work for more than $370,000.
Kuharchik Construction Inc. was the lowest bidder — $2.3 million — for the routes 30 and 74 project. PennDOT expects to give the contractor the go-ahead in July, but the changing of the timing likely will not happen until winter or later.
Here are some things you should know about the project:
• Drivers might sit on a side road for a longer period of time. — “The trade-off is you travel the corridor faster,” Kinard said.
• It will help to move traffic during holidays, such as Christmas, when shopping centers are busy.
• Municipalities will not have to do engineering work every few years to re-time the lights at intersections. That will help save money.
• The system will send a text or email to officials when a problem exists with the signals.
• If communication goes down between the signals, the system will go back and run off of historic data. The system keeps a 30-day memory. So it will see what the traffic counts were at, say, 3 p.m. Tuesday and implement that timing sequence.
• Drivers will be warned in advance with message boards about the upcoming traffic signal timing changes.
Sources: Eric Kinard, signals and congestion management supervisor with PennDOT; Beth Nidam, senior transportation planner with the York County Planning Commission; Doug Murphy, highway design manager with PennDOT.