Getting to work faster - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

by Jennifer Hoff

Getting to work faster

ROCHESTER, MN (FOX 47) -- There's no doubt Rochester is a growing community.

More people, means more traffic - and a longer line at that red stoplight.

But the city has a new project that's giving drivers the green light.

Whether you're late for work, or just trying to get home, you'll more than likely see red.

Gary Shannon says, "Traffic has grown in the past few years and the signal cycle length that we had previously just wasn't accomodating the traffic."

Hitting the brakes, long lines, even longer light changes led the city to make some of its own changes.

Shannon says, "We had a study done and we came up with signal timing that would improve the traffic flow through these signals and that's what we applied."

Rochester Traffic Engineer Gary Shannon and MnDOT, along with Olmsted County, collected data over the winter and found people were wasting time and gas by stopping too much and sitting too long at certain intersections.

One driver says, "Certain times of the day they just feel congested anyways."

Not anymore - thanks to new optimized signal timing plans.

44 were installed at intersections around Rochester - many on 2nd Street southwest, 55th Street northwest, and Civic Center Drive - but are only turned on during rush hour.

Shannon says, "During the middle of the day, we just let it run free so it's just more efficient for everybody."

Shannon says, not only will you save 144,000 gallons of fuel every year, but you'll make 20-million fewer vehicle stops too.

Getting the green light is good news for drivers, because sitting in traffic is very tiring, says another driver.

Shannon says the cost of this project varies depending on who owns the highway intersection.

For example, Civic Center Drive and 11th Avenue northwest are both city streets, so the city paid $3,000 to perform the study, but nothing to implement the new signals - the city staff just changes the timers from a computer.

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