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Garner Gets Green Light For Synchronized Traffic System

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GARNER, N.C. — Drivers think there is too much red and not enough green at Triangle traffic lights, but people in Garner will soon have an answer to their traffic dilemma.

Some motorists believe driving through Garner with its traffic lights can be a real pain.

"When you're trying to make a doctor's appointment and you only got 15 minutes to get from work, you know the worst part is you're going to be stuck at the lights," motorist Michael Mobley said.

"I think it frustrates a person and plus, I think it's a use of gasoline that's not necessary when you're waiting for the stoplight," motorist Hal Aldridge said.

After hearing citizen complaints, Garner town leaders decided to go after a federal grant. The criteria was the grant would be used to reduce traffic congestion and air pollution. The federal government agreed that Garner's request for a synchronized traffic light system could work, so the town received a check for $2 million.

Town Manager Mary Lou Todd said she pushed hard for the grant, because she, too, feels the pain of the Garner commute.

"I just don't deal with that kind of sitting and doing nothing. It's very frustrating to me, so people who have to do it every day, I can understand their frustration," she said.

Construction should begin this spring on 26 signals along Highway 401, Highway 70 and Timber Drive. By October 2005, fiber-optic lines will link all the lights with a central computer, synchronizing the system.

Raleigh has a $25 million synchronized traffic-light system at the top of its road construction wish list though it does not involve grant money. Durham is also interested in synchronizing lights.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation helped Garner with its federal grant application. State engineers told WRAL the light synchronization plan will extend to lights near Wake Tech -- the site of

several wrecks

including four in one week in August.

The DOT said the signal light upgrade has nothing to do with the wrecks, but those crashes were due to driver error.


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