A federal mandate for traffic signs to meet new reflectivity stands and a need to update Manteca’s 50 plus signalized traffic intersections to improve traffic flow efficiency will cost $5.9 million.
But thanks to municipal staff aggressively seeking federal grants the work expect to start in the coming nine months will cost Manteca taxpayers only $402,000.
The City Council is being asked to OK tapping Local Transportation Funds for $65,000 to leverage a $2,635,000 federal grant for the retroreflective traffic sign project and $347,000 to augment a $2,853,000 federal grant for the traffic signal update project.
The council meets Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St.
Manteca will incur a $2.7 million tab replacing all traffic signs — stop signs, speed signs, warning signs, street signs, and such — with ones that have a significantly higher retro-reflectively
The mandate by the Federal Highway Administration is based on the fact half of traffic fatalities occur at night even though only a quarter of all travel takes place at night. And whole intoxication and fatigue contribute to the high rate of nighttime crashes, the federal government contends nighttime driving is inherently hazardous because of decreased driver visibility.
The newer sign material improves highway safety and prevents roadway departure crashes by bouncing light from vehicle headlights back toward the vehicle and the driver’s eye, making the signs appear brighter and easier to see and read. At the same time, older signs lose their reflectivity over time.
It will cost $3.2 million to assess and improve all traffic signals within Manteca’s city limits.
Manteca has roughly 50 intersections with traffic signals in addition to 10 sets of Caltrans controlled intersections on freeway off-ramps as well as two more sets on East Highway 120.
All of the city signals have older controllers that operate independently to direct both traffic and pedestrians. Public Works Director Mark Houghton has noted the possibility exists to tie in the city’s systems with those operated by Caltrans to further enhance traffic flow.
New controllers will not only allow the city to sync traffic signals but they will create greater flexibility by being able to program them at a central location to take into account increases in traffic flow.
That means the city will be able to reduce congestion on corridors such as Main Street through downtown, East Yosemite Avenue between Button Avenue and Spreckels Avenue, and elsewhere in Manteca.
The technology is prevalent in cities of 200,000 or more residents but fairly rare for a city the size of Manteca.
Besides making traffic flow more efficient it will also reduce air pollution as idling cars pollute more than those that are moving.
City officials are hopeful that improved traffic flow will improve safety of both motorists and pedestrians by reducing frustration.
Houghton had previously praised associate engineer Matiel Holloway for his grant writing that allowed the city to secure the funds.
“Every dollar we get (from the federal government) is a dollar we don’t have to spend locally,” Houghton said last year.
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