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Sensors will help ease traffic jams on Route 22 in Monroeville, Murrysville

| Tuesday, July 14, 2015, 8:18 p.m.

A state contractor is working to upgrade signals along part of the William Penn Highway corridor in Monroeville and Murrysville to improve traffic flow.

Bronder Technical Services, of Butler County, began installing the InSync traffic-control system in 19 lights along the nine-mile stretch of highway from the intersection with Manor Road in Murrysville to the intersection with Cochran Drive, just east of the turnpike at the entrance to the Cochran Automotive complex. under a $1.8 million contract.

Workers will temporarily close single lanes of traffic at their work sites from Monday to Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. On side roads where work doesn't affect traffic flow on William Penn Highway, contractors will work from 7 to 9 a.m. and 3 to 5 p.m.

The new system will ease some of the congestion in the busy William Penn corridor, where about 10,000 vehicles a day travel in each direction, PennDOT officials said.

“It should help keep a smooth flow of traffic coming through that area,” PennDOT spokesman Steve Marsinko said.

Kelly Valvo, 51, of Plum works in the South Hills but takes pains to avoid William Penn Highway during her commute.

Standing in the parking lot of the Giant Eagle where William Penn and Old William Penn highways meet late on a weekday afternoon, she pointed out a stretch of road a few hundred yards long.

“If you come through here, it's about 15 minutes from here to the light,” she said.

Don Megahan 79, of Monroeville, also avoids that stretch of highway between 4:30 and 6 p.m.

“We want to go to Murrysville, we go the back way, over by Boyce Park,” he said.

The new system links radar devices that detect vehicles with software that can read traffic patterns and adjust wait times at lights.

James Vasiloff, a traffic-control specialist in PennDOT's Uniontown district office, said the system is “like a computer.”

PennDOT officials have to program the current system manually, but the new one “learns and makes adjustments,” he said.

Megahan said he doesn't think traffic signals are the issue in the long commute times on William Penn Highway.

“This whole area out here is built up,” he said.

“It can only handle so much.”

Gideon Bradshaw is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-871-2369 or gbradshaw@tribweb.com.

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