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Some Washington Co. traffic signals to be upgraded

December 27, 2009|By JULIE E. GREENE

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- Several signals along Sharpsburg Pike and three intersections elsewhere in Washington County are to receive upgraded video equipment that detects traffic movement, a Maryland State Highway Administration official said.

The state has been upgrading its traffic-detection equipment so it costs less to repair when such work is needed, said David Buck, spokesman for the state highway administration.

Under the old system, traffic going through a left-turn light would be detected by equipment under the turn lane. So when the equipment went bad, the road had to be ripped up, Buck said.

The new system places a camera on top of the traffic signal. The camera does not take pictures, but senses motion, Buck said. So if a line of cars is turning left, the signal knows to stay green until there is a gap in traffic, and then the signal changes to yellow.

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The work is expected to be done this spring, possibly as early as March. The work at each intersection will cost $15,000 to $20,000, he said.

The intersections are:

o Md. 144 and Pennsylvania Avenue in Hancock

o Four signals along Sharpsburg Pike (Md. 65), near the Interstate 70 ramps

o U.S. 40 at Big Pool Road west of Clear Spring

o Alternate U.S. 40 and Md. 66 in Boonsboro

The department also is upgrading some traffic signals in Allegany, Garrett, Frederick, Carroll, Howard, Montgomery and Prince George's counties. The total cost for the upgrades in the eight counties is $1.46 million, which is being funded by federal stimulus money, Buck said. The work is to be done by Rommel Engineering & Construction Inc.

More signals in Washington County might be added to the project, according to an e-mail from Buck.

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