Adaptive traffic signals

JAY HARE/DOTHAN EAGLE Traffic is shown at the intersection of Ross Clark Circle and U.S. 231 South on Monday afternoon. The Dothan City Commission authorized the purchase of 29 adaptive traffic signal cabinets and corresponding software. The "smart" traffic signal system will eventually increase the efficiency of driving around Dothan.

Drivers who travel through Dothan regularly have experienced frustration from stoplights that seem to stay red too long or just switch to red at random times.

Help for those intersections is on the way as the Dothan City Commission on Tuesday approved the purchase of 29 adaptive traffic signal controllers and cabinets that will be installed in various areas of the city. Dothan Public Works Director Charles Metzger said the purchase is the first of as many as four separate purchases as officials aim to improve the city’s traffic flow with the implementation of a “smart” traffic system.

Fiber optic cables will connect the signals, allowing real-time data about traffic flow to be transmitted.

“What it allows us to do is to better communicate with all these locations – 135 eventually – to get this data back,” Metzger said. “There’s nothing perfect about traffic movement, but when your data is real-time … we can better handle fluctuations in traffic.”

For example, the city experiences times when traffic counts spike by 20 percent – like beach traffic rushes. Special events like the National Peanut Festival and hurricane evacuations also can clog major thoroughfares.

With the real-time data, officials can make the best adjustments to stoplight cycles. Currently most of the Dothan traffic system is based on time-of-day patterns, and while the system can make adjustments, they are not as effective as those an adaptive system can initiate, Metzger said.

The system will also eliminate delays those driving on side streets experience during off-peak travel times, Metzger added.

“It’ll help with driver frustration and reduce fuel consumption,” he said.

The 29 new controllers and cabinets will cost $430,831 initially with software maintenance costing the city $6,800 per year afterward.

City Manager Mike West has budgeted $500,000 for the 2018 and 2019 fiscal years for the project. The city will need to set aside another $1 million to fully implement the system at all 135 locations.

Metzger said his department is seeking some funding assistance from the Alabama Department of Transportation for the controllers installed along state routes. The city plans to install the smart system first along Montgomery Highway north of Ross Clark Circle and along the southern and eastern sides of Ross Clark Circle.

In other action, the commission:

>> Submitted offers totaling $650,000 for four parcels of property located along Whatley and Obrannan Park drives. The parcels of land would be used for a new fire station. West said the city has budgeted $1.75 million for land purchases needed for two new fire stations.

>> Entered into contracts with MidSouth Paving, Inc., and Poly, Inc. for $595,513.80 and $55,542 respectively for the construction and inspection of a shared-use biking and walking trail near the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine campus.

>> Entered into an agreement through ALDOT for the relocation of a water main and associated valves and fittings for a bridge replacement project on Brookside Drive. Since the project is part of an Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvements Program effort, the state will cover 80 percent of the costs of the replacement, not to exceed $40,820. Dothan will pay an estimated $10,205.

>> Accepted right-of-way warranty deed from Watson & Downs Investments, LLC, Home Builders Association of Dothan, Georgia F. Warren, Shannon Geiger, Robert E. Johnstone, Charles H. Roling, James W. and Carolyn A. Copeland (tracts 38-40) and Bible Way Church for the widening and adding lanes project on Denton Road.

>> Rezoned a parcel of land owned by Sam and Eddie Farnham located at 2582 West Main Street from R-1 (residential, single-family, low-density) to O-2 (office park).

>> Entered into an agreement with CenturyLink for internet service provider, ethernet and public switched telephone network services at a cost of about $20,000 per month.

>> Entered into an agreement with Troy Cablevision for internet services at a cost of $630 per month.

>> Approved a change order that added $10,250 to the final cost of the contract to replace water mains along South Appletree Street. The project, completed on July 12, had a final cost of $657,210.

>> Entered into private development agreements with Mohan’s Property Management LLC and SWS Properties LLC for installation and maintenance of water meters at 202 Ross Clark Circle and 104 Apple Ave., respectively.

>> Entered into two separate agreements with the Drug Enforcement Administration to recoup overtime expenses related to the work officers provided to the Montgomery, Alabama, state- and local-funded Task Force and High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force. The agreements limit reimbursements to $18,343.75 each.

>> Accepted a request from SMB Land, LLC for sanitary sewer flows and maintenance of the sanitary sewer main after a two-year maintenance period for Park Ridge Subdivision Phase II, an 88-unit development.

>> Reappointed Donnie Wells to the Board of Zoning Adjustments.

>> Approved a lounge retail liquor license (on or off premise) for Uncle Bobs located at 2109 Ross Clark Circle, Suites 11-14.

>> Confirmed the cost incurred in notification and abatement of properties deemed repeat offenders of the nuisance properties ordinance and turned the costs over to the county tax collector so the amounts can be added to the next regular bills for taxes levied against the respective lots.

>> Declared certain properties overgrown with weeds and other vegetation as injurious to the health, safety and welfare of the community and as nuisances. The commission ordered the properties abated.

>> Declared other properties as nuisances and called for a public hearing to be held at the Sept. 4 commission meeting.

>> Confirmed the cost incurred in notification and abatement of certain properties deemed nuisances in resolutions 2018-134 and 2018-170 and turned the costs over to the county tax collector so the amounts can be added to the next regular bills for taxes levied against the respective lots.

>> Awarded bids and approved other purchases worth more than $15,000.

>> Approved advance travel requests for city employees.

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