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Last updated: August 08. 2014 12:17AM - 888 Views
By Cody Bozarth cbozarth@civitasmedia.com



David C.L. Bauer | Journal-CourierThe aging computer that controls traffic signals at Westgate Avenue and Walnut Street will be the first to get an upgrade that will cost the city about $20,000. Others could be facing similar upgrades soon.
David C.L. Bauer | Journal-CourierThe aging computer that controls traffic signals at Westgate Avenue and Walnut Street will be the first to get an upgrade that will cost the city about $20,000. Others could be facing similar upgrades soon.
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Jacksonville is being hit with a roughly $20,000 expense to replace the computer that keeps traffic signals working efficiently at Walnut Street and Westgate Avenue.


The intersection is just one of many nagging for an upgrade, but because it is half-owned by the state, the Illinois Department of Transportation is pushing to get the work done.


Streets Superintendent Les Ballenger said the upgrade should be completed soon after it starts.


“It needs a whole new system. The light is not recognizing cars there,” Ballenger said. “It’s computerized. And if you’ve got a 14-year-old computer at home, it’s like that.”


The traffic light at Walnut and Diamond streets is the same age and also a concern. Ballenger said whatever parts are salvaged from the Westgate Avenue light could be used to keep it running for some time. IDOT also shares half of the responsibility for that light, so it could be next in line for an upgrade.


That would cost the city another $20,000 for its share of the cost.


There are a few other traffic lights that could stand an upgrade, but the city would bear the full cost of those projects.


Stop lights on Douglas Avenue at Sandy and Mauvaisterre streets have been flashing as four-way stops for several years because of the same need for an upgrade. Those intersections will soon be addressed as part of the North Main Street renovation project.


Flashing traffic lights on Church Street at State Street and College Avenue are in need of similar improvements. Mayor Andy Ezard said the city is taking note of traffic patterns at those intersections and may consider making the intersections permanent four-way stops.


Outside of those, there are others in town running on old hardware that could be an issue in the coming years.


“We’re going to have to expend some money in the future,” Ezard said. “There are several around town we’re going to have to take a look at.”



Cody Bozarth can be reached at 217-245-6121, ext. 1223, or on Twitter @JCnews_Cody.


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