Traffic signal loops broken; cameras suggested

Garth Brooks traffic flow project wrapping up

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City of Yukon contractors are just about finished with a two-phase traffic flow improvement project along a busy stretch of Garth Brooks Boulevard. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)

By Conrad Dudderar
Staff Writer

Traffic signal loop detectors at several Garth Brooks Boulevard intersections are broken as city officials consider installing new cameras to replace them.

A two-phase traffic flow improvement project on Garth Brooks Boulevard is wrapping up.

New right-turn lanes onto Interstate 40 and signal light work between N.W. 10th and Vandament are designed to reduce vehicle back-ups while improving flow along the high-traffic commercial corridor.

Contractors SignalTek Inc. and Traffic Engineering Consultants are providing the traffic signal improvements, coordination and remote 24/7 monitoring at eight intersections on Garth Brooks Boulevard. Project cost is $202,475.

Yukon City Manager Tammy Kretchmar

“They are finishing up doing the (traffic signal) controls now,” City Manager Tammy Kretchmar reported at the March 16th Yukon City Council study session.

The new controls will help, but not as well as they would if there were new loops in place.

Traffic signals use loop detection technology – a wire imbedded in the road surface – to “see” vehicles passing through an intersection. When a vehicle drives over the loop, it acts as a sensor to trigger the signals.

But instead of loops, Yukon city officials are looking to install new cameras at three intersections in that area.

“Then we won’t have to worry about the loops being broken again,” Kretchmar advised council members. “But it’s going to be about $30,000 per intersection.”

City council approval would be required.

Loops are relatively inexpensive – but sometimes break due to snow and ice and when roads are milled and overlaid, according to City Engineer Robbie Williams.

“The new technology is video,” Williams explained. “You just put a camera, and it sees the cars, knows which lane it’s in, and tells the controller.”

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NEW RIGHT-TURN LANES

The first phase of the Garth Brooks Boulevard traffic flow project was installation of dedicated right-turn lanes onto I-40.

Contractor Brewer Construction performed the work. Cost is $322,695.

“The striping still has to be done going onto I-40,” Kretchmar said. “Those should be done by the end of the week.”

Mayor Shelli Selby expressed motorists’ gratitude about the right-turn lane project at the Garth Brooks Boulevard/I-40 intersection.

“I have gotten so many compliments about that,” Selby shared. “People who have said, ‘My ride home is so much better’.”

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