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Traffic signal study OK'd; Aurora hopes to land funds for upgrade

by KEN LAHMERS | EDITOR Published: June 21, 2017 1:00 AM

AURORA -- The city is hoping to obtain funding through the Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study to upgrade its traffic signal system, which Service Director John Trew said hasn't been done since 2002.

City Council took the first step in the process at its June 12 meeting, when it approved a $25,950 contract with the GPD Group for a citywide traffic signal warrant study, which is required before an application for the funds is submitted.

Trew said the funds are part of the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program, a federally-funded program of surface transportation improvements designed to improve air quality and mitigate congestion. It is administered through the state of Ohio.

The study will look at 13 intersections in the city where traffic signals are located. It also will look at three signalized intersections which will require communications upgrades only, plus whether a signal at Route 43 and Treat Road is warranted.

Trew explained the city's traffic signals use outdated lighting, whereas LED technology is now used for newly-installed signals. The old technology makes it difficult for the city to repair signals, he added.

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Trew said the project likely will cost close to $5 million (80 percent to 20 percent match federal and local). If the city can land the funding, he noted the project would be about four or five years down the road.

At Council's recent session, Ward 1 Councilman Jim Vaca asked whether the GPD Group could also take a look at whether a traffic signal is warranted at Route 43 and East Boulevard.

Trew explained if a signal is placed there, it would require complete reconstruction of the intersection, which could add $500,000 to the cost of the project.

Because of the tight schedule for applying for the funding, Trew noted it wouldn't be wise to include that intersection in GPD Group's study, but the city could look at the possibility in a future study.

"I think with the increased traffic through the Geauga Lake neighborhood, a signal at Route 43 and East Boulevard is needed," Vaca said.

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"Because of new housing construction, we have a lot of traffic -- including trucks -- coming through the neighborhood from Twinsburg and Reminderville, plus the traffic to and from the Marketplace at Four Corners.

"People who live in other parts of Aurora might not see the need, but you've got to live here to understand what's going on. If you don't live here, you can't see the picture.

"If a traffic count was done, I think some people would be surprised at the volume at that intersection. I'm just suggesting that we start looking into the possibility of putting a signal there."

Mayor Ann Womer Benjamin told Council determining whether traffic signals are warranted is not a simple process.

"We've been looking at upgrading the signalization at the Routes 43-306 and Pioneer Trail intersections for 3 1/2 years, and we finally have engineering for that in this year's budget," she said. "Hopefully, we can budget for that project next year."

Email: klahmers@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9400 ext. 4189


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