City focuses on traffic flow improvements in Lincoln

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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) Drivers will begin to notice traffic flowing better this year throughout Lincoln as improvements are made at intersections.

Phase one of "Green Light Lincoln" started in December by The City of Lincoln's Traffic Engineering Division. Right now, the project is focused on detection upgrades.

At each intersection there are now smaller cameras that know when a car pulls up. "The new types of detection systems whether it be radar or camera systems. They work a lot better and we have a lot less trouble shooting with them," Manager of Traffic Engineering, Lonnie Burklund said.

The cameras visually detect when a car pulls up to stop at the intersection. "We can see that at the shop. The camera itself tells the computer, hey I'm here waiting, I need a green light," Burklund said.

The current standard detection system in Lincoln requires a coil of wire underneath the concrete. When a car drives through the magnetic field of the loop, it places a "call" into the computer telling the intersection the car is there.

However, potholes, pavement damage and even seasonal changes causes the loop wires to break. When the wire is cut or broken, it tells the computer that there is always a car there, even when there isn't.

"The intersection at 27th and Pine Lake is a perfect example of new modernization and upgrades we are doing, Burklund said. "It has new signal displays, vertical displays, overhead lane usage signing and a traffic signal cabinet."

As phase one of "Green Light Lincoln" continues, 130 intersections will be upgraded on 9 different high volume corridors. Burklund hopes by the end of the summer the upgrades will be complete. At that time, crews will work on the timing of the lights.

"We're pretty pumped and excited to see the results. There is a lot of work to do and a lot of upgrades to get accomplished. We are working hard behind the scenes with signal timings. We think we are going to have a fantastic story to tell in December to the public how we're much more safely and efficiently moving traffic on these 9 priority corridors," Burklund said.