BANGOR – Beginning today, motorists traveling on Broadway will see changes to the traffic signal system, city officials announced Tuesday.
Computer models suggest changes to the timing of traffic signals from Grandview Avenue to the Interstate 95 northbound ramps could noticeably improve the flow of traffic on Broadway.
Testing scheduled to begin this morning, after the morning rush, will confirm whether these changes work under actual traffic conditions, City Manager Edward Barrett said Tuesday. If the test is successful, the new system will become permanent.
During the test period, motorists must be alert, recognize that sequences and patterns can change and wait for the signal to clearly allow them to proceed, Barrett said.
As it stands, the signals operate on a single timing plan that is the most efficient when it comes to handling average traffic conditions throughout the day.
New detectors have been installed, however, that continually monitor the volume and direction of traffic in the Broadway corridor.
These data are sent to a master controller that has numerous signal timing plans available, allowing the system to respond to actual traffic volume and direction, according to a press release from the city. Using these data, the appropriate timing plan is selected and sent to signals along the entire corridor.
Depending on the time of day and traffic conditions, some of the timing plans may change the traffic signal sequence at an intersection.
For example, on one day an intersection’s left-turn arrow may turn green before the through signals turn green, according to the release. The next day, the left-turn arrow may turn green at the same time as the through signals.
Drivers used to a certain sequence at an intersection may automatically react to the signal sequence they are used to without watching the actual signals, potentially creating traffic hazards.
The changes are the result of work that the city of Bangor, Bangor Area Comprehensive Transportation System and consultant J.W. Sewall Co. are undertaking to optimize traffic signal operation along the Broadway corridor to help traffic move more efficiently throughout the day.
The Broadway project is part of a larger study analyzing several traffic corridors in Bangor, Orono and Old Town with funding from BACTS, the Maine Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration.