published Sunday, May 26th, 2013

Cleveland, Tenn., upgrades traffic system

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    Bart Borden, electric division manager for Cleveland Utilities

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Twenty Cleveland intersections will receive a new GPS-based traffic signal pre-emption system this summer, and the Cleveland Fire Department will be the first emergency responder enabled to use it.

The Cleveland Utilities board recently voted 4-0 to approve a $120,600 purchase to install GPS radio devices in the intersection traffic signals and equip 10 fire department vehicles with control units.

The new system works in long-range zones, which makes it easier to clear intersection bottlenecks before the vehicles arrive, Cleveland Fire Chief Steve Haun recently told city leaders. Another time-saving feature is a responsive connectivity between signal controls on any given route that an emergency vehicle might use.

The system is expandable to other responders. City Manager Janice Casteel said Bradley County Emergency Services could buy into the GPS-based network through reimbursements to Cleveland. The remote-control devices cost the city $3,000 each.

Officials expect the new system to be launched sometime this summer.

In other traffic-related business, new warning signs soon will be placed on the Norfolk Southern Railway bridge that passes over Inman Street at Five Points, said Bart Borden, vice president of Cleveland Utilities' electric division.

Twenty-four LED lamps will enclose a "low clearance" sign that warns drivers of the 10-foot, 10-inch ceiling of the concrete bridge, Borden said.

According to railroad officials, the bridge suffers one collision a month on average, but regular inspections are conducted to ensure its structural integrity and safety.

More than 50 percent of the crashes involve rental trucks, said Tommy Meyers, director of Cleveland Public Works. Other impacts involve commercial transports and recreational vehicles.

Cleveland Utilities' traffic department also has replaced a failing traffic detection camera with a radar traffic detection device at the intersection of Keith Street and 25th Street.

"The radar is used solely to detect vehicles in a region and is not used for speed detection or red-light-running purposes," said Borden. "The new equipment is working very effectively."

The intersection is involved in a comprehensive study intended to improve traffic flow along 25th Street, which is part of state Route 60 and one of Cleveland's major corridors. The project will involve 11 intersections between the Spring Creek development and Candies Lane, Borden said.

Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. Email him at paul.leach.press@gmail.com.

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