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Hamilton to add ‘smart’ traffic signal system in $5.25M project

Hamilton will install smart traffic signals across the city that will be able to adjust much more quickly to heavy traffic as a way to improve traffic flow, which residents feel is especially important with the late-2021 opening of Spooky Nook Sports Champion Mill. GREG LYNCH / STAFF
Hamilton will install smart traffic signals across the city that will be able to adjust much more quickly to heavy traffic as a way to improve traffic flow, which residents feel is especially important with the late-2021 opening of Spooky Nook Sports Champion Mill. GREG LYNCH / STAFF

The city is moving forward with a $5.25 million plan to upgrade 97 traffic signals across Hamilton with those that can adjust to heavy traffic to better maximize traffic flow, including for the Spooky Nook Sports Champion Mill sports complex and convention center.

Some $4.2 million of the project cost will come through a grant from the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments, with the other $1.05 million coming from city funding.

Design of the project should be finished by the summer of 2021, with the project bid out in late 2021, and the project taking 18-24 months to complete, Hamilton Director of Engineering Rich Engle said.

Spooky Nook, which is expected to attract 10,000 to 20,000 visitors some weekends, is scheduled to open in December of 2021.

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Jim Logan, Hamilton’s Director of Infrastructure, said short of building the proposed North Hamilton Crossing, which would include a bridge across the Great Miami River, an overpass across railroad tracks and a highway along the northern edge of the city as an alternate route to the High-Main streets corridor, the traffic-signal upgrades are the next-best-thing.

“Aside from constructing a new bridge or an underpass, I think it’s the most significant improvement we can make to our system,” Logan said.

The “central based traffic signal system” will upgrade the city’s 97 traffic signals with video detection abilities, through which cameras installed on the signals allow the system to “see” traffic building up at the intersections, so the traffic signals can be adjusted — on their own, in some cases — to improve the traffic flow.

Explore RELATED TRAFFIC NEWS: Hamilton applying for state grant for North Hamilton Crossing

Also part of the upgrade will be fiber communication, new controllers that have battery backup, and handicap ramps that are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“This system will be designed to allow us to have more information from the traffic that’s occurring on our city streets and be able to do some direct controlling of those signals, and the signals themselves will be intelligent signals, so they can do some of that management of the traffic themselves,” Engle said.

“Our desire and goal is to concentrate on our main corridors … initially, on the construction, so we get those traffic signals that have the smart, intelligent controllers so that we can deal with some of the traffic that’s going to be ocurring when Spooky Nook opens about that same time,” Engle said.

Steve Hartke, Mason’s assistant city engineer, told this news outlet in November that his city’s system was still being phased in, but, “the benefits have already been seen,” including on Kings Island Drive, Mason-Montgomery Road, and Ohio 741.

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