The Cherokee County Board of Commissioners last week approved conducting a study on the timing of traffic lights along three key county roadway corridors.

KCI Technologies, Inc. from Duluth will be taking a look at traffic lights and their timing, especially during peak traffic hours, on Bells Ferry Road, Towne Lake Parkway/Eagle Drive and Sixes Road/Holly Springs Parkway in the near future. Commissioners unanimously approved awarding a standard contract to KCI Technologies out of the seven bids and proposals received regarding the project. While KCI Technologies may not have been the lowest bidder of the seven, coming in at $127,250, its proposal received the highest score from the county upon careful examination.

Community Agency Development Director Geoffrey Morton explained these three road corridors were chosen for analysis because of their high volumes and their traffic signals being coordinated-interconnected systems. As the contract with KCI Technologies is a professional services, on-call contract in place for up to three years, the county can choose to have more traffic signals on more road corridors studied in the future.

“The county typically completes traffic signal timing adjustments on its corridors with coordination from GDOT,” Morton said. “However, recently we have noticed that the timings that we have currently in place do not work well for all times of day, especially during rush hour peaks and recently weekend peaks on Saturdays and Sundays. Traffic signal timing is dependent on traffic volume and time of day. It has been some time since we have had a consultant complete detailed traffic counts and turn movement counts for extended periods on the county’s busiest roadways, and we are due to look at it again. Traffic signal timing is a low-cost, quick way to gain capacity on roadways.”

While the contract has officially been awarded, it may be some time before the study can properly begin.

“Originally, the project had an accelerated time frame to be completed by May or early June,” Morton said. “However, with the COVID-19 situation, traffic is not an issue, so we will have to wait for traffic patterns to return to normal to begin the data collection process. We cannot begin the retiming until we have traffic data to collect and model.”

Although it may be some time before the study can be conducted, Morton said once all the data has been collected and received, it will not take long for the county to implement any changes to the traffic signal schedule if they are needed.

“The traffic signal retiming can be done remotely and can be implemented at any time,” Morton said. “The only thing that motorists should notice is improved travel times on corridors.”

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