Photo by Mike Thompson
Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 26, 1999
Traffic lights at intersections of Highway 231 have recently been equipped with computer-operated timers to ensure safety along the route. Here, traffic flow is maintained through the use of the new lights on a busy afternoon around the rush hour.
Computer to control traffic flow
By MICHELLE J. WILSON
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Computer technology will soon help to smooth traffic flow on Pike County’s most-travelled road.
Construction began last month on a "closed loop traffic signal system" on U.S. Highway 231 in Troy, said Carroll Dunn, district engineer for Alabama Department of Transportation District 5. The signal system involves a computer which will control the changing of 231 traffic lights in an effort to avoid traffic jams.
The project, which cost the state $143,726.77, should be completed by year’s end, Dunn said.
The intersections of 231 and Wal-Mart SuperCenter, Franklin Drive, George Wallace Drive and Alabama Highway 87 will be connected by fiber optic cable to a master computer, Dunn said.
There are system sensors located in the pavement at these intersections that furnish traffic flow data to a master controller which will automatically choose a predetermined program and activate the traffic lights.
"The sensors can determine how many and what kinds of vehicles are traveling through the intersections," he said. "This system should lead to better traffic flow."
The master controller computers are located at the City of Troy Municipal Complex and at the office of the DOT. Operators have the option of setting the system for Troy’s unique traffic patterns, such as game day at Troy State University.
The master controller also notifies repair personnel if there is a problem in the system.
"We have a tremendous traffic volume on 231 and we are trying to find ways to better manage that traffic," Dunn said. "It is really important to our area to have something like this.
"I hope everyone will be patient with the construction."