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updated: 2/29/2012 2:06 PM

Transportation improvements slated for Aurora's East side

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  • Traffic signals, such as this one at Galena Boulevard and Broadway Avenue in Aurora, are being connected to a traffic management system that allows traffic engineers to monitor congestion remotely. The system soon will be spreading to streets on the city's far east side such as Farnsworth Avenue and Eola Road.

       Traffic signals, such as this one at Galena Boulevard and Broadway Avenue in Aurora, are being connected to a traffic management system that allows traffic engineers to monitor congestion remotely. The system soon will be spreading to streets on the city's far east side such as Farnsworth Avenue and Eola Road.
    Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

 
 

The traffic management system that has been helping keep cars moving on Aurora thoroughfares such as Broadway Avenue, Lake Street, New York Street and Galena Boulevard soon will be spreading to the far east side.

Farnsworth Avenue, Eola Road, Commons and McCoy drives and Hill Avenue are next in line to receive traffic signal upgrades and be connected to the system that allows engineers to monitor vehicle flow and fix signal glitches remotely.

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The city council on Tuesday night approved several agreements for design engineering and allocated a total of $224,750 in motor fuel taxes to support the work on four of those roads.

On top of that funding, the city has received about $12 million in grant funding to put toward the traffic management system and signal upgrades since the project began in 2010.

"We're paying a maximum of 20 cents on the dollar," while federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality grant funding administered by the state is paying the rest, said Eric Gallt, the city's traffic engineer.

"By moving traffic efficiently, we significantly reduce CO2 emissions," he said.

Before voting on the design engineering and fund allocations, Alderman Rick Mervine said DuPage County Aurora residents have been anticipating the traffic management system's expansion into their part of town.

"We're voting on extension of this project on the far East side," Mervine said. "All of us in that part of town are waiting for this to happen."

Design engineering already is complete for Farnsworth Avenue, which will be connected to the system this year. Eola, Commons, McCoy and Hill will be connected to the system in 2013, Gallt said.

Mayor Tom Weisner said keeping major roadways congestion-free prevents motorists from clogging neighborhood streets and cuts the time it takes to get from place to place. He said the city has been able to "leverage a lot of funds to make this happen."

So far, 72 signals are connected to the traffic management system, which also allows emergency vehicles to change the signal while on the way to an emergency scene or a hospital, Gallt said.

Future upgrades will create adaptive traffic control, in which signals aren't set for a fixed amount of time but rely more on detection of vehicles to change from green to yellow to red.

"I'm happy to see Aurora is using 21st-century technology to meet our day-to-day needs," Alderman Mike Saville said.

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