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Edmond traffic being addressed

Engineer Brian Hiney works in the new traffic management center, the backbone of Edmond’s new intelligent transportation system. Hiney is responsible for watching locations throughout the city in an effort to better keep traffic flowing. [PHOTO BY DIANA BALDWIN, THE OKLAHOMAN]

Engineer Brian Hiney works in the new traffic management center, the backbone of Edmond’s new intelligent transportation system. Hiney is responsible for watching locations throughout the city in an effort to better keep traffic flowing. [PHOTO BY DIANA BALDWIN, THE OKLAHOMAN]

EDMOND — The first phase of Edmond's intelligent transportation system is nearly complete, while city officials and the contractor continue to work out some finishing details.

The traffic management center, located on the second floor of the Planning and Public Works Building, 10 S Littler Ave., is the backbone for the intelligent traffic system, referred to by most as ITS.

“It is operational,” said City Engineer Steve Manek. “The city will develop a ‘punch list' of items that will need to be addressed before the city will accept the project from the contractor.”

The system will cost the city up to $15 million once all of the five or six phases are completed.

Phase two design, which includes 26 intersections along Broadway, from Danforth Road to Covell Road, is nearly complete, and the city's engineering staff will reapply for Association of Central Oklahoma Governments funding assistance.

The estimated cost of phase two is $3.5 million.

The system involves the replacement and upgrading of traffic control equipment at intersections throughout Edmond to facilitate better traffic flow in general, and to also respond quickly to specific traffic problems when they arise, City Manager Larry Stevens said.

“It is a computer-aided system that will allow city staff to real-time monitor and adjust the traffic signals,” Manek said.

For example, a car caught fire near 33rd Street and Broadway, and the cameras let firefighters know the situation so they could better assist with the traffic flow, City Traffic Engineer Tom Minnick said.

“We were able to give the person directing traffic more time and help with the traffic flow,” Minnick said.

Construction on phase one started in the spring of 2014 along Second Street and Edmond Road corridor, from the west city limits to just east of Interstate 35. The state Transportation Department awarded the $3 million contract in April 2014.

Officials spent $235,800 for the city's portion of phase one.

The contract, with Midstate Traffic Control, included work on 22 intersections with traffic signals along Second Street. The project included installation of wireless radios on the city's four water towers and now is in operation.

Contractors have been working to connect fiber-optic and wireless communication throughout the city, along with new traffic control boxes and video cameras.

“The old traffic control boxes are in some cases 40 years old with technology that is not relevant to what can be done with today's signals,” Manek said. “We also installed the flashing yellow left turn signals, which are the new standard to allow vehicle to turn left if the oncoming traffic has gaps.”

The system will collect, convey and share information that should improve transportation safety and mobility.

“It won't be the catchall for everything,” Manek said. “We will still have congestion.”

Edmond is installing the system in phases in an effort to get all the financial assistance they can obtain.

The city received $1.7 million in June 2013 from the Association of Central Oklahoma Government to go toward the installation of the system.

Money for the project has been budgeted from a sales tax voters approved in 2000 for capital improvements.

City council members spent $780,000 for the design work.

Diana Baldwin

Diana Baldwin has been an Oklahoma journalist since 1976. She covered the Oklahoma City bombing and covered the downfall of Oklahoma City police forensic chemist Joyce Gilchrist misidentifying evidence. She wrote the original stories about the... Read more ›

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