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Traffic Signal Project to Mitigate Traffic Backlogs in Clearfield County

December 20, 2023 08:00 AM
By: Timothy Nebgen

​A safety improvement project consisting of upgrades to 11 signalized intersections along a portion of Route 219/255 in the City of DuBois and Sandy Township in Clearfield County is expected to help significantly reduce traffic congestion and enhance safety for the traveling public.

The average daily traffic through this corridor ranges between 16,000 and 20,000 vehicles daily. The state-of-the-art signal controllers installed during this project directly interface with the Regional Traffic Management Center's (RTMC) central signal software. This will allow RTMC operators to implement preapproved detour timings in real time to help facilitate traffic flow and alleviate congestion.

This corridor is also employed as an Incident Management Route for Interstate 80, which runs parallel to Route 219/255 between mile markers 97 and 101. The ability to implement these preapproved timings will also help facilitate traffic flow during when I-80 is closed due to incidents or winter weather events.

Three Type A Changeable Message Signs were installed as part of the project. Two are installed along route 219 near the I-80 interchange at exit 97. They are located roughly 10 to 15 feet apart and face northbound and southbound traffic. The other is stationed along Route 255 near the interchange at exit 101. Each will relay information on incidents to the traveling public and improve their situational awareness. They are full color boards able to display symbol messages with greater effectiveness than monochrome boards.

Two Closed Circuit Televisions were installed at the intersections of DuBois Street and Route 219 and Park Avenue and Route 219. These cameras are utilized by RTMC operators to verify incidents and monitor roadway conditions and determine whether the altered signal timings are functioning as intended or need to be adjusted. The camera at DuBois Street was mounted to the existing signal pole as a cost savings measure. As the signal pole is owned by the municipality, PennDOT entered into an Intelligent Transportations Systems Agreement with the City of DuBois to realize these savings.

Radar was installed as a replacement for traditional in pavement loop detection. One benefit includes the ability to collect enhanced high-resolution Automated Traffic Signal Performance Metrics (ATSPM) data. Analyzing this data allows the signals unit to coordinate with the municipalities and determine appropriate adjustments to the signal timings and facilitate traffic flow through a variety of situations. Another benefit is the usefulness of the data in determining if red light running is occurring at a particular signal. By sharing this data with municipal law enforcement, in this case with the City of DuBois and Sandy Township police departments, those organizations can consider whether high visibility aggressive driving enforcement is an appropriate countermeasure at these locations.

Bruce & Merrilees Electric Company of New Castle, PA, was the contractor on this $1.2 million project. Physical construction was completed earlier this month. Jacobs Engineering Group will develop an Incident Management Plan with Standard Operating Procedures for the corridor over the next six months.

This project was identified as part of the Regional Operation Plan process completed in conjunction with the North Central Pennsylvania Regional Planning and Development Commission. Pennsylvania State Police were also in the discussions.

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