Richmond’s new traffic signal system expected to save time, money

Posted at 1:02 PM, Jul 09, 2012
and last updated 2012-07-09 13:02:37-04

RICHMOND, Va (WTVR) --If you've ever driven around the Richmond Metro area, it's likely you have been caught by some of the area's ill-timed stop lights.  But the days of stopping at a red light on every block, may soon become a thing of the past.

"It's very aggravating, because especially at night it's not busy here," said motorist Brendolyn Daniels.

Daniels is a recent VCU graduate and knows first-hand about what she called traveling troubles, on the major streets across the area.  But beginning today, the city began to upgrade Richmond's outdated traffic signal system.

"I think it's a good thing because I think it's too congested around here." said Daniels.

"I feel great about that because I waste a lot of time in traffic because of that," said motorist Uwe Baker.  "Especially at night I wait, and I have to wait for nothing."

Once complete, the $21 million federally funded project will allow a computer at City Hall to control and connect all the traffic signals.  Tammy Hawley with the mayor's office, said there are added benefits to the overhaul.

"At City Hall where we can then monitor traffic patterns, weather patterns, and other possible delays," said Tammy Hawley, Mayor Dwight Jones' Press Secretary.

The improvements are expected to allow the city to be more in control of the flow of traffic.

"It will empower us to help reduce traffic stops and delays," said Hawley.  "It should add to improved motorists safety, pedestrian safety.  It's a big project for the city."

According to the Urban Mobility Report in 2010, when gas was $2.63 a gallon, the average Richmond driver shelled out $375 a year in gas because of traffic delays.

That's messed up, that's unfortunate," said Daniels. 

"I'm for all of those (traffic lights) being converted," said Baker.

Currently underway is the first of three phases.  The first phase will run through The entire improvement project is scheduled to last five years, according to Hawley.

WHO:  City of Richmond Department of Public Works

WHAT:  Richmond Signal System upgrade

WHEN:  Tuesday, July 10 through Friday, November 2, 2012, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

WHERE:  This project will take place at the following intersections:

  • Broad Street between Belvidere Street and Staples Mill Road
  • Monument Avenue between I-195 and Staples Mill Road
  • Hermitage Road between Broad Street and Sherwood Road
  • Multiple intersections in the Fan Area

BACKGROUND:  The following improvements will be made to improve motorist and pedestrian safety. Motorists using the signalized intersections in the project area may experience temporary lane closures or lane re-configurations as the project progresses. Traffic control signage will be in place at these areas to guide pedestrian and vehicle movements.

SCOPE OF WORK:  There will be new traffic signal controllers, surveillance cameras (CCTV) and an advanced Traffic Signal Management Software at the TOC.  With increased monitoring capabilities, City staff will be able to respond more quickly to signal problems.