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Article updated: 6/17/2013 10:10 PM

Palatine, IDOT to modernize 30 intersections

By Kimberly Pohl

Thirty intersections throughout Palatine soon will undergo traffic signal upgrades, six of which are part of a highway safety improvement project.

The village council Monday unanimously approved the two Illinois Department of Transportation initiatives.

Six intersections along Northwest Highway between Palatine Road and Smith Street will be modernized with federal funding due to the number of accidents that have occurred along that section.

Officials specifically referred to the Benton Street intersection where two elderly women were fatally struck in separate accidents. Palatine police determined contributing factors likely were the lack of lighting and timing of the signals, which, if triggered by a car and not a pedestrian activating the crosswalk signal, didn't allow sufficient time to cross.

IDOT will install countdown pedestrian signals. Village officials are suggesting that the minimum time be increased from eight seconds to 25 seconds.

IDOT also will install "uninterruptable" power supply so traffic signals can still function during a power outage, and sidewalk ramps will be upgraded to meeting current standards under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Incandescent lamps will be changed to light-emitting diode, or LED, technology, part of IDOT's complete transformation along state highways because the lights consume less energy, require less maintenance and have enhanced visibility.

"We're hoping to see some cost savings coming to us," Village Manager Reid Ottesen said.

The total cost for the Northwest Highway project is more than $576,000, though the village's portion will be just $26,000 because the federal government is funding 90 percent of the work.

IDOT also will improve 24 additional intersections along other state highways, modernizing equipment with the same LED lighting, countdown pedestrian signals and uninterruptable power supply.

The work at those intersections will total about $406,000, of which the village will pay $10,500. The state is covering 90 percent. Since the village pays for some or all of the energy at 10 of these intersections, the proposed conversion to LED will reduce Palatine's energy bill.

Work is expected to begin in the fall.

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