The city of Bexley has joined with Columbus and Whitehall to install new fiber-optic technology next year that will allow the cities' traffic signals to connect with a regional traffic-signal network for central Ohio.

The technology is designed to more closely regulate traffic signals and improve traffic flow, said Bill Dorman, Bexley's service director.

"The idea behind this is you time the (traffic) signals during peak hours and you're not stacking cars," he said.

To fund the new technology, Bexley, Columbus and Whitehall applied for the Federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Program through the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, Dorman said. Bexley was awarded about $500,000 in CMAQ grant funds, which will cover the cost of acquiring and installing the fiber-optic technology and connecting it to the regional network.

Once installed, the technology will help move traffic more smoothly, reduce vehicles' fuel consumption and improve air quality, Dorman said.

"We all work with Columbus to get people in and out of the city without gridlock," he said.

The installation of the new technology marks the second phase of a project Bexley embarked on several years ago to improve traffic flow at intersections, Dorman said.

The first phase involved upgrading traffic signals in 2014 to include audio messages to alert pedestrians with visual impairments when it was safe to cross intersections. In addition to the fiber-optic technology, the second phase includes installing video monitors that will enable city engineers to view traffic patterns and adjust traffic signals accordingly from desktop stations.

The video monitors can also assist police with safety issues, but will not function as "red-light cameras" that generate fines, Dorman said.

When the installation starts next year, traffic signals will remain in operation and minimal traffic disruption is expected, although brief lane closures may occur while cable and equipment is being installed, according to Bexley's Service Department.

For more information, email Dorman at bdorman@bexley.org.

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