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Murrysville officials mull traffic-light decision

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By Daveen Rae Kurutz
Thursday, July 19, 2012, 9:02 a.m.

The timing might be off for Murrysville officials to overhaul the red lights along Route 22.

Officials are considering a more-than $30,000 series of studies that could change the timing of lights along Route 22 amid complaints that the lights - which are triggered by traffic cameras - aren't working properly.

Several council members have received complaints from drivers enduring prolonged waits at red lights that have no cross traffic. Officials will decide next month whether or not to complete a $9,800 comprehensive review of traffic cameras, wiring and other equipment before completing a $22,000 traffic study.

"It's of concern to us all and has become a priority," said Jim Morrison, chief administrator for the municipality. "We need to get in front of us what the issue is."

Morrison said officials have been dealing with light synchronization on Route 22 for 10 years. While installing video cameras to detect traffic at a cross street - such as Triangle Lane, where the problem regularly occurs - has helped alleviate some of the problem, more improvement is possible, he said.

The only entity with authority to change the timing of red lights is the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. However, Morrison said to make that request, the municipality must complete a $22,000 traffic study.

He said he hopes to receive a state grant to help fund the project, which could involve replacing some of the red light cameras along Route 22.

Councilman Jeff Kepler, who initially brought up the problem several months ago, said he has seen motorists frustrated with the wait simply run the red light by Triangle Lane.

"Often times, there's no one sitting there when the light turns red," Kepler said. "You'll sit for a long time and not a single car will cross."

Kepler said he would like to see the cameras replaced either with new technology or radar.

"I truly believe to fix the issue, we need to do both," he said. "Traffic is bad enough along 22. We shouldn't be adding to the problem."

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