CDOT to run fiber-optic cable to address Steamboat traffic signal issues remotely
July 25, 2011
Steamboat Springs — Colorado Department of Transportation crews will be running fiber-optic cable below Lincoln Avenue on Tuesday to link the downtown traffic signals, but that won't change how they work, city engineer Ben Beall said.
Beall said a Denver traffic engineering firm contracted by the city coordinated the signals shortly after the Lincoln Avenue construction project was completed in October. He said the city has worked with the firm to tweak the timing of the signals.
"It's a complex setup with a lot of different inputs," he said. "I've been assured it's the most efficient system we can have."
The $5.6 million construction project replaced the asphalt on Lincoln Avenue with concrete from Third to 13th streets, upgraded underground utilities and the drainage system and added a stoplight at 11th Street and sidewalk bump-outs at signaled intersections.
Beall said the installation of fiber-optic cable, which won't impact traffic downtown, would allow CDOT to remotely fix issues instead of traveling to Steamboat from Craig.
The timing system allows drivers heading east through downtown from 7 to 11 a.m. to catch green lights for most of their commute, Beall said. He said drivers should have the same experience heading west from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
But Beall said factors, such as left-turn signals and pedestrian crossings, could impact that. He said the city's most problematic area is between Third and Fifth streets, where the double left turn lane from Third to Lincoln is located. He said significant pedestrian traffic across Lincoln also takes place there.
New left-turn signals on Lincoln at Third, Fifth and 11th streets also impact that traffic progression, as do pedestrian crossing buttons at other intersections, Beall said.
He said there's an issue with pedestrian crossing signals at cross streets ending too quickly before the light on Lincoln Avenue changes from green, which the city has been working to correct.
Beall said the city had contracted to work with the Denver traffic engineering firm through the end of the month and is trying to extend the contract to next month. He said the signal timing could change.
"It's never set in stone," Beall said. "Depending on how traffic flows go, these things can be updated over time depending on the goals of the community, where people are diving and how many people are driving."
— To reach Jack Weinstein, call 970-871-4203 or email jweinstein@SteamboatToday.com