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PennDOT Looking To Expand New Traffic Light System

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

John Shumway John Shumway
John Shumway joined NewsRadio 1020 KDKA in 2004 as co-host of The KDKA...
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WEXFORD (KDKA) — Pittsburghers spend 39 hours a year sitting in traffic and that adds up to more than $800 in wasted fuel, but there could be help on the way.

A new traffic light system being tested in the area has proven successful in keeping drivers moving, and now PennDOT is looking to expand it to other roadways known for their rush hour gridlock.

Sitting or traveling in heavy traffic is a special kind of character test that few of us handle well. It’s such an aggravation that traffic engineers are always looking for the latest, greatest fix.

“We’re very optimistic and really looking forward to it,” said PennDOT’s Dan Cessna.

The focus of that optimism is the new adaptive system on Route 19 in the Wexford Flats using cameras and computers linked from one end of the flats to the other.

“It adapts to the fact that traffic is heavier – perhaps if the school has an event and there are a lot of people coming out of the school – it understands that and can adjust the entire traffic system to accommodate for that,” said Cessna.

In short, it’s constantly adapting and keeping you moving.

“We’re on target for the end of May to have it fully operational,” Cessna says.

But already PennDOT is considering using the same system elsewhere.

“Along the 22 corridor from Monroeville to Delmont through Murrysville,” adds Cessna.

The lower end of McKnight Road is also in the running where safety improvements are ongoing and cameras are already in place.

“The South Hills is certainly a place where this would make a lot of sense,” Cessna said.

Cessna says virtually all the major commercial districts are being reviewed. But first they have to get Wexford up and flowing.

“I think we need to get comfortable with it and make sure the technology works,” he says.

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