Milford City Council approved a purchase order that allows Century Engineering/Kleinfelder to evaluate whether the traffic signal at the corner of Southeast Second Street and Marshall Street is necessary. The review is part of a process that would allow DelDOT to take over signals throughout the town.
“Second and Marshall was on the list for upgrade, and to later be accepted by DelDOT in terms of ownership, operation and maintenance. In the course of evaluating that intersection, they, as a matter of routine would evaluate the warrants for the signalling system,” Mike Svaby, Director of Public Works, said. “And they’ve come upon the same situation as they found when they began to evaluate the intersection of South Walnut and Southwest Front and Causey that it could in fact, possibly be changed to a full stop. So, the process of evaluating that and if it comes out that the warrants are no longer there for signals, they put together a package that we go back to DelDOT and recommended the change be a four-way stop as a one year trial, the same way we’re doing at the intersections downtown.”
The cost of the evaluation by Century Engineering/Kleinfelder was $53,900. Councilwoman Katrina Wilson, who expressed some concerns about the removal of the lights on Walnut Street, asked what was prompting the changes to signals throughout the town.
“This is not really a new thing where these changes are coming about. What is driving this is not really a new thing. Actually, before I began my tenure here in 2020, there was an effort to turn the city’s traffic signals over to DelDOT as a mutually desirable thing between the city and DelDOT,” Svaby said. “For us, so we don’t have to maintain and repair when there’s malfunctions. It is beneficial for DelDOT in that they can introduce the signals here in Milford to the Transportation Management Center and get control of their operation.”
Svaby explained that the process would lead to DelDOT taking over the signals and that this was just one of six that were on the list for review.
“One of them is part of the TAP project going on Northeast Front Street that’s already begun. Because of its physical location, that intersection and its upgrades to keep that signal has been absorbed by the TAP project and we will pay what we had budgeted for that upgrade and DelDOT will in fact be taking that signal over that one won’t go away,” Svaby said. “But just as part of their process, now, DelDOT evaluates before they take another signal into their inventory, whether or not a signal is necessary, and in fact, the best way to control traffic at the intersection, and that’s what this process would do.”
Mark Whitfield, City Manager, explained that if it is determined the signal is warranted, DelDOT would require the city to upgrade the signal system before they took it over. That process could be an expenditure of $250,000 or more. He felt that spending $53,000 to have it evaluated prior to requesting DelDOT to take it over was more cost efficient. Svaby also explained that the process was ongoing throughout the state with many municipalities reviewing the need for traffic signals as opposed to all-way stops.
Council voted unanimously to approve the purchase order.
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