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Manteca will spend $6.5M on new signs, traffic signals
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Manteca may not have funding to deal with cracking pavement and potholes but by the end of 2018 traffic signals will be better coordinated while all road signs in the city will meet new federal safety standards.
The federal mandate for traffic signs to meet new reflectivity stands updating Manteca’s 50 plus signalized traffic intersections to improve traffic flow efficiency will cost $6.5 million. All but $402,000 of that amount is being covered by federal funds.
The City Council Friday approved resolutions needed for the state to process the pass through federal funding.
As much as local elected officials might like to use the money for pavement maintenance, the money the city is receiving is restricted for the purposes only of coordinating traffic signals and putting in place signs that meet the new federal standard.
If staff hadn’t secured the grants, the city would not be able to spend $3.2 million to improve the efficiency of traffic signals. Worse yet, it would have had to come up with $2.7 million to comply with the federal sig safety mandate for local sources. It is money Manteca does not have.
The $2.7 million will replace 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. 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.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email