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City of Omaha - Nebraska

City of OmahaOmaha, Nebraska

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(August 8, 2017)

Over the next 10 years, the City of Omaha will implement a $35 million traffic signal master plan to modernize and upgrade the traffic signal system to improve safety and efficiency for all users. The City currently has 1,000 traffic signals using outdated technology. The Federal Highway Administration will pay 80% of the cost.

To qualify for the federal funding, each signal must be evaluated to determine if it meets the “warrants” or criteria, required by the federal Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). The evaluation has been underway since last year.

MUTCD is a document issued by the Federal Highway Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) to specify the standards by which traffic signs, road surface markings, and signals are designed, installed, and used.

Phase A of the evaluation involves 200 signals.  Two pedestrian crossing signals (also called ‘half signals’) and four regular traffic signals were found to be “unwarranted”, or did not meet the federal criteria.  The locations of the pedestrian crossing signals are 51st & Farnam and 52nd & Chicago.  The other traffic signals are located at 108th & Oak, 73rd & Mercy Road, 84th & Spring and 120th & Arbor.

The Public Works traffic division conducted the required traffic counts and studies at all the traffic signals to identify those that are not warranted and therefore should be further evaluated for removal.  The federal process for removal includes switching the signals into flash operation for 45 days followed by bagging the signal heads for another 45 days. During this period, public comments are encouraged and the intersection is monitored.

Last month, Mayor Stothert directed the traffic division to further study the 51st and Farnam and 52nd & Chicago locations for another year. The difference between these two locations and the others is the signals on Farnam and Chicago are pedestrian signals, operated only by a push button, the others are traffic signals.  

The posted signs at the affected signals invite public comment.

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