Council approves plan to reduce travel time by coordinating lights

 Council approves plan to reduce travel time by coordinating lights

After the state of Tennessee spent over $7 million redesigning intersections and installing traffic controls, the City of Dickson is taking the final step to complete the Traffic System Management project by authorizing a timing study for traffic lights on Highway 46.

At its meeting Monday, Aug. 5, the Dickson City Council approved hiring Kimley-Horn and Associates to conduct the timing study and put in place a system to maximize the flow of traffic on the city’s busiest road.

Chris Rhodes, vice president at Kimley-Horn’s Nashville office, told the council the idea is to study the flow of traffic on Highway 46 and come up with a plan that reduces stops at traffic lights and lowers travel times following the Tennessee Department of Transportation’s TSM project.

“With school back in session, we’ll count traffic in August,” Rhodes said. “As you guys well know, this city is growing so the traffic counts that we’ve got from the TDOT project are pretty dated. So we’ll count traffic; we’ll build a model; and then we’ll put new signal timing settings in that model.”

Working with the city’s Public Works Department, the new timing plans will be installed at the control boxes for each of the 12 traffic lights on Highway 46 from Interstate 40 to College Street.

The engineering company will drive Highway 46 under the current traffic patterns at various times of the day and night to establish a baseline of drive times and stops at lights. After the new timing is instituted, the consultants will again join the vehicles on the road to conduct road tests to determine the reduction in travel times and fuel consumption.

“The goal is not to hit consecutive red lights, but to get you to hit some consecutive green lights and move up and down the corridors,” Rhodes said. “An AM plan, a midday plan, an afternoon plan, and probably one or two off-peak plans throughout the day. We’ll get a full 12 hours of counts.”

Rhodes said at the conclusion of the project, Kimley-Horn will present the city a summary with the before and after comparison showing the changes to travel times, average number of stops and fuel consumption.

The council unanimously approved the contract with Kimley-Horn to conduct the timing study. The 2019-20 budget includes $75,000 for the project.

Highway 46 intersections to be included in the timing study are:

  • I-40 eastbound onramp;
  • I-40 westbound exit ramp;
  • East and West Christi Drive;
  • Livestock Road/Alexander Drive;
  • Pomona Road;
  • Jackson Brothers Boulevard;
  • Marshall Stuart Drive/Oakmont Drive;
  • Lewis Hollow Road;
  • Beasley Drive/Skyline Drive;
  • Thornton Drive;
  • East Walnut Street/Highway 47; and
  • East College Street/Highway 70 East.

Now that school is in session in Dickson County, Public Works Department Director David Travis said he expects the initial traffic counts and studies will begin within the next two weeks.

In addition to the coordination of the traffic signals on Highway 46, the city’s 2019-20 budget includes $1.5 million from a 2016 loan for a project to improve traffic flow from Highway 46 to Gum Branch Road. The city continues to evaluate various proposals for the project that was originally proposed as a city-funded portion of TDOT’s TSM

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