Council receives update on SR 255 project

ST. MARYS - Area motorists are being asked for their patience as the massive multi-year road project along state Route 255 continues. Although the project is only in its first phase, many items of concern were posed to Dean Ball of the state Department of Transportation (PennDOT) during Monday evening's St. Marys City Council meeting.Ball provided a brief update and answered questions from council, specifically pertaining to traffic backups along the Million Dollar Highway. In response to council's concern about the extensive duration of traffic delays as part of the current work on 255, Ball explained new traffic signals located at four intersections at Tractor Supply, the entrance to St. Marys Area High School, Ford Road and Haller Road at the plaza, will play a major role in the next phase."That's the big difference between the two phases, that we're going to have these new signals," Ball said.The four new temporary signals will all be coordinated and will default onto green all the time on SR 255. Video detectors will be placed on signals which allow the light to stay green until the camera detects a car coming out of one of the side roads. The timing is set up to detect the number of cars on the side road and will trigger the light accordingly to allow cars to pass through. All signals will also have left turn arrows.At all times during upcoming construction there will always be a northbound, southbound and center lane open, which will help traffic flow, according to Ball.The problem with the Wal-Mart signal is contractors were using the old signal because when they milled the road they took the detectors out, so the light was strictly on a timing phase. The signal often remained on green for 20 or 30 seconds when there were no cars exiting the store, Ball said, delaying traffic.