Today is Sunday, July 23, 2017

Council nods traffic improvements

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The old wooden poles are to be replaced with new steel poles and the wires also replaced with solid beams to prevent the signals from dropping too low. Baines said the structure would be similar to other major intersections in town that dont have signals hanging from wires.


"Its going to get rid of the old wooden poles and wires and really clean up that intersection, Baines said.


Repairs to the detection loops at eight other signals are also a part of the contract, which Baines noted would make the lights more accurate when moving traffic through an intersection.


Thats where if you drive up to a light, there is a loop in the pavement that signals that youre there, he explained.


Several of the signals had to be placed on a timer since the loops are no longer working. Baines said that makes the lights less efficient at times when traffic doesnt meet the pre-set timer.


You may not notice it during the day when traffic is heavy, but pull up to the signal at night and you might wonder why its not changing, he said.


Long-term plans were also put in place during Tuesday nights meeting to possibly improve the flow of traffic on West Main Street and North and South Cumberland with a traffic study to begin later in the year.


Council approved a contract with Gresham, Smith and Partners to inventory the citys traffic signal equipment and conduct a signal optimization program that will affect the timing of lights on Lebanons major roadways.


They will recommend some timing adjustments and it may help traffic flow in town, Baines said.


The contract calls for $180,000 worth of work, but Baines said the project is fully funded by the Federal Highway Department.


He said he encouraged the company to not begin the studies until September, following the opening of the new Lebanon High School, which he added would have an impact on traffic around the old LHS on North Cumberland Street.


With the old LHS no longer in use after August, Baines said the traffic would probably be significantly lighter around the school on North Cumberland in the mornings and afternoons.


At the same time, he said traffic would likely increase at the West Main Street and Hartmann Drive intersection, which would also affect the traffic study along West Main.


We probably wont receive any recommendations until the end of the year, Baines said.


In the meantime, Baines said Gresham, Smith and Partners would be taking an inventory of all the citys traffic signal equipment.


Also during the meeting, the council provided little discussion this time in passing on second reading a change to the city's line item policy, which sparked a heated debate during the April 17 meeting.


The ordinance allows for department heads to transfer funds within their own budgets up to $2,500 without prior council approval. However, Ward 3 Councilor Rob Cesternino, who proposed the ordinance, said the council must approve all travel, training and payroll expenditures or transfers.


Transfers of $2,500 or less would require approval by the Mayor and Commissioner of Finance and Revenue. Cesternino said the council will receive a monthly report of all transfers and expenditures to review.


"I for one, will be looking over that report very closely," said Ward 5 Councilor Haywood Barry.


Council is expected to consider items relative to the traffic signal projects on second reading, at a special called meeting today at 5:30 p.m. in the Town Meeting Hall of the City of Lebanon Administration Building located at 200 N. Castle Heights Ave.


Staff Writer Patrick Hall may be contacted at phall@wilsonpost.com.


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