2 Centre County townships receive over $100,000 to improve safety at intersections

Two municipalities in Centre County received more than $100,000 Wednesday from the state’s Automatic Red Light Enforcement fund that will be used to improve safety and vehicle detection at intersections.

Under state law, grant funding is supplied by fines from red light violations at 30 intersections in Philadelphia. The law says that projects improving safety, enhancing mobility and reducing congestion can be considered for funding, according to a press release from Gov. Tom Wolf’s office.

Ferguson Township received $80,000 to install dilemma zone and digital radar detections to improve bicycle and motorcycle detection at two intersections with signals — Blue Course Drive and Circleville Road/Teaberry Lane and Blue Course Drive and Havershire Boulevard.

Ferguson Township Manager Dave Pribulka said this particular project is part of the township’s plan to upgrade every signalized intersection to better detect pedestrians and smaller vehicles in the travel lane’s dilemma zone. The dilemma zone is the area in front of an intersection where, when the light flashes yellow, the driver or operator has a chance to stop or go, he said.

“With digital radar and technology that’s better suited to detect approaching vehicles and traffic, you can time your intersection changes so that the dilemma zone is minimized,” he said.

Though not the stated goal of this project, he said, better detection at signalized intersections in the township will improve safety at those intersections.

Huston Township received $25,000 to improve safety on Alternate 220/South Eagle Valley Road east of Julian by installing a new solar-powered flashing warning sign on a pedestal support pole.

“As you’re coming south toward the little village of Julian, there is a sight-distance problem,” said township Supervisor Jim Cowan.

Vehicles traveling in the southbound lane approaching its intersection with Beaver Road, he said, have trouble seeing the intersection because of an incline and sudden dip in the road. The area is highly-trafficked by truckers and commuters from areas like Kylertown, Allport and Milesburg heading to State College, he said.

Though the speed limit drops from 55 mph to 45 mph in Julian, many people drive well above the speed limit on that road, he said.

To warn drivers of the upcoming intersection, township supervisors installed a flashing light and a sign that warned of the intersection and speed limit drop, but a year ago, during heavy snowfall, snowplows took the light out, he said.

The township applied for the ARLE grant because supervisors felt the lack of signage posed a safety issue that was never addressed by long-range planning in the county.

“(The new sign) is going to be beneficial to the community and to anyone that’s traveling,” Cowan said.