Another 131 intersections to undergo re-timing to facilitate traffic movement in the county

County Commission awards contract to Hillsborough County firm for work through 2018

A map shows the corridors that will be part of this latest initiative. Image courtesy Sarasota County

With no comment this week, the Sarasota County Commission unanimously approved a $1,394,603.25 contract with Albeck Gerken Inc. of Hillsborough County to perform signal re-timing on another 131 intersections.

Sixty-five of the signals are included in the county’s Advanced Traffic Management System (ATMS) project, a staff memo explained. Among them are intersections on Venice Avenue, Honore Avenue, Jacaranda Boulevard, Laurel Road, Beneva Road, Cattlemen Road, Proctor Road, Swift Road, Tuttle Avenue and University Parkway.

The matter was part of the board’s vote on its Jan. 10 Consent Agenda of routine business items.

The memo points out that the contract also calls for data collection, analysis and documentation to evaluate the timing changes, as well as the “fine-tuning of signalized intersections on County roadways.” The work is to be completed in phases so the changes can be undertaken during the 2017 and 2018 “peak traffic seasons,” the memo notes.

The scope of work also will encompass strategies for evacuation routes and the development of “incident management plans,” the memo says.

A list shows part of the intersections that will be included in the latest ATMS work. Image courtesy Sarasota County

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) performs signal re-timing at intersections on state roads and corridors in the county, the memo explains. On July 12, 2016, the county and FDOT entered into a Local Agency Program Agreement” that provided funding to the county to enable it to re-time signals on county roads and corridors. The City of Sarasota will be performing signal re-timing of the intersections on its corridors, the memo adds.

During a Nov. 17, 2015 discussion of county priorities for the Sarasota/Manatee Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), county commissioners voiced surprise and then anger after staff members told them that traffic signal timing was not being adjusted as ATMS phases were being installed. Paula Wiggins, the county’s transportation planning manager, said that funding for the signal retiming effort was included in the county’s 2016 fiscal year budget, but staff had to complete an agreement with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) for that agency to undertake the work.

A staff report the board requested — delivered in December 2015 — explained the “Sarasota-Manatee Advanced Traffic Management System (ATMS) concept and implementation plan was initiated by [FDOT] with the local stakeholders of Sarasota County, Manatee County and the cities of Sarasota and Bradenton in 2001 with a goal of mitigating increasing traffic congestion in the bi-county area.”

A second list shows part of the other intersections to be included in the project. Image courtesy Sarasota County

It continued, “The concept was to design and construct traffic control and management technologies that allow staff to:

“• monitor traffic flow in real time,

“• respond to localized traffic incidents/congestion with immediate signal timing adjustments,

“ • notify stakeholders of the traffic issues and resolutions,

“• implement new technologies designed to improve overall flow of traffic on specific corridors as funding becomes available …”

The report said, “Each phase of the program has added new signal locations to the ATMS network for monitoring and control,” along with new technologies as they become available.

The report also explained that the ATMS provides “operators with the ability to respond and adjust signal timing for specific movements at specific intersections. This is a growing and maturing system with state-of-the-art technologies that must be tested as they are introduced.”