State College

Centre County garners share of PennDOT traffic signal funding

Ferguson Township will be receiving Green-Light Go funding to improve traffic lights including the lights at the intersection of College Avenue and Corl Street.
Ferguson Township will be receiving Green-Light Go funding to improve traffic lights including the lights at the intersection of College Avenue and Corl Street.

The state Department of Transportation is distributing traffic safety funds across the state, and a trio of municipalities in Centre County are getting in on the action.

About $5.5 million in Automated Red Light Enforcement funding will be going to 18 municipalities statewide, a news release from Gov. Tom Wolf said, and 109 municipalities will be receiving $12 million in Green Light-Go funding.

The ARLE funding was made possible through fines from red light violations in Philadelphia as part of state law, the release said. Green Light funding was made possible through Act 89 — the state’s transportation funding plan — and partnerships between the municipalities and PennDOT.

“While having all drivers traveling safely is our ultimate goal, I’m pleased that traffic fines are being reinvested into making our communities safer,” Wolf said in the release regarding the ARLE funding. Speaking on the Green Light funding, Wolf said state and local partnerships are “critical to improving traffic flow and safety across the state.”

Three Centre County municipalities were identified as receiving funding under the two programs. First, Philipsburg is slated to receive $76,959 in ARLE funding to make “boroughwide vehicular and pedestrian improvements” by enhancing sight distance and improving pavement markings and signage.

Philipsburg code enforcement officer Tim Ryder said the borough applied for funds to assist in tree trimming throughout the borough. New signage will likely focus on the north side of the borough, as signage replacements were recently completed on the south side.

Ferguson Township was identified as receiving $498,900 in ARLE funding to implement high-resolution, real-time performance metrics and communication at all of the township’s 20 traffic signals.

Public Works Director Dave Modricker identified township engineer Ron Seybert as the driving force behind acquiring the funds, which would be used to install wireless broadband controllers between the signals, allowing a central computer system to collect real-time data of the township’s traffic.

This would allow traffic engineers to optimize the performance of the signals, Modricker said, making progressive changes to increase the performance of the signals during certain times of day.

“Right now, we do traffic modeling, which makes assumptions of how traffic performs,” he said. “With a system like this, we can fine tune it to the traffic demands.”

Ferguson Township will also be the recipient of $17,084 in Green Light funding to upgrade the traffic signal at the intersection of West College Avenue and Corl Street.

The portion of West College between Corl Street and the State College borough border is part of the upcoming streetscape project, township Manager Mark Kunkle said. New sidewalks will connect the avenue to the sidewalks in the borough.

Work will need to be done at the West College/Corl intersection to align the intersection and extend the sidewalk, he said, as well as making it handicap accessible. This work includes upgrading the traffic signal to tie into the project.

Finally, the Valley Vista corridor in Patton Township will receive Green Light funding, as $121,583 will be used to install an adaptive traffic signal system that adjusts timing based on traffic conditions at the intersections of Valley Vista Drive and Green Tech Drive, North Atherton Street, Carnegie Drive and the Lowe’s Home Improvement driveway.

Township Manager Doug Erickson said the township applied for the funds about a year ago, and has been looking at installing adaptive signals at the Valley Vista intersections for some time. State funding will help pay for about 50 percent of the project.

Jeremy Hartley: 814-231-4616, @JJHartleyNews