By Eric Grosso
NEWTON FALLS — City council has given the green light to the Ohio Department of Transportation to interconnect and upgrade four traffic signals on state Route 534.
The project’s cost will be covered from a $500,000 grant the city received from the Eastgate Regional Council of Governments in November.
The main purpose of the project is to interconnect the signals throughout the city, which would reduce the amount of starting and stopping done by vehicles, said City Manager Jack Haney at Monday’s council meeting.
“The best part about this grant is there’s no match from the local community,” said Haney, adding that grants of this nature often require communities to pay for a portion of the project.
The signals will be black-mast style, which eliminates the need for wires to hang over intersections, Haney said. He also noted that the city would not need to obtain any right of ways from property owners because the new signals are replacing current signals already in use.
The city did have the option of working with an independent contractor for the project, but Haney said working with ODOT was a better choice because the city does not have the personnel to oversee the project.
Also, the funds can be distributed directly to ODOT from the council of governments, whereas the city would have paid a contractor then been reimbursed through COG.
Haney said ODOT has approved plans for the signals. The state agency will now look at the efficiency of different traffic signals throughout the city and make recommendations on traffic flow and safety.
ODOT is expected to study traffic patterns throughout the city later this summer. The grant is part of the COG’s Transportation Improvement Program.