A project to connect New Albany's traffic signals through the city's fiber-optics system should begin this summer, according to public-services director Mark Nemec.

The initiative would link the city's 24 traffic signals so they could operate in a more synchronized fashion, Nemec said.

As new signals are added to the city's road network, they also could be connected via fiber optics, he said.

"The system will be able to accommodate it," he said.

New Albany City Council on Jan. 2 approved a final resolution authorizing City Manager Joe Stefanov to enter into an agreement with the Ohio Department of Transportation and commit an estimated $229,194 in city funds to the project.

All four council members present approved the resolution; Mayor Sloan Spalding, President Pro Tempore Colleen Briscoe and council member Kasey Kist were absent.

Though council members approved similar legislation in September for the project, final legislation was needed now that plans are completed, Nemec said.

The construction project, which is estimated to cost $1,166,000, will go to bid later this month, Nemec said.

The project should begin this summer and then wrap up in May 2020, he said.

In addition to the city's contribution, the project would be funded by local and state grants coordinated through the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, said city spokesman Scott McAfee.

The project includes the installation of cameras to monitor traffic at priority intersections throughout the city, but these cameras would not be used to enforce speed limits, McAfee said.

Many of them would be at U.S. Route 62's major intersections throughout New Albany, according to a list McAfee provided.

The cities of Bexley, Columbus, Grandview Heights and Whitehall also are slated to connect traffic signals to fiber-optic lines as a result of funding they received from MORPC in 2015, said Nick Gill, assistant transportation director for MORPC.

For several years, Columbus has been using MORPC funding to connect its signals, he said.

Connected traffic signals would be controlled via computer, which could improve the flow of traffic by making drivers stop less frequently at intersections along the same corridor, Gill said.

City engineers would be able to monitor the signals via cameras and adjust them remotely from city offices, said senior traffic engineer David Samuelson of E.P. Ferris & Associates, the design and engineering firm working with Bexley, Grandview Heights, New Albany and Whitehall on the connectivity projects.

Engineers would be able to adjust signals based on the time of day, changing how long the green signals last and how frequently drivers would see green lights, Samuelson said. Each community is using the same type of software, but signals would be controlled by the individual cities.

The project also has an environmental component.

As vehicles move through intersections smoothly, they avoid sitting idle at red lights and emitting more carbon monoxide gas, Nemec said.

New Albany is "glad to partner on this project to help make traffic throughout central Ohio move better," McAfee said.

ssole@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSarah