Traffic light syncing affects northwest side commute - Tucson News Now

Traffic light syncing affects northwest side commute

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

It was one last traffic headache before things were scheduled to start running smoothly at Ina and Oracle Roads.

The traffic signals were turned off all day Wednesday so they could be synchronized.

Pima County Sheriff's deputies were directing traffic.

With some 96,000 vehicles passing through one of Pima County's busiest intersections, the delays were significant.

Oracle is a state highway so the Arizona Department of Transportation is in charge of synchronizing the traffic signals.

Much of the work at Ina and Oracle has been done at night, but the synchronization happened over about 10 hours during the day.

The plan is that, as you go east or west on Ina, you should hit on only one red light while using the indirect left turn.

We're told the new electronic traffic controllers are state-of-the-art.

Pima County is switching to them at other intersections, too.

You might say they talk to each other in order to figure out how to synchronize the traffic signals at any given time.

"In essence is that they sense how much traffic there is there and, again, with the computer programs, that it adjusts the timing of the signal. So, in other words, does the light have to stay green for 12 seconds or does it have to stay green for 30 seconds in order to, again, empty out the traffic," Pima County Transportation Director Priscilla Cornelio says.

The indirect left turn and two new right turn lanes are expected to reduce traffic delays by 40 percent at Ina and Oracle.

Cornelio says there will be about two more weeks of nighttime work on landscaping and striping.

Then all construction at Ina and Oracle will be complete.

So far, the co-owner of a pet clinic near the corner of Ina and Oracle is happy with the way things are turning out.

Northwest Pet Clinic Co-owner and Hospital Administrator Gary Zimnoch says in the few weeks the indirect left turn has been in effect, along with the new right turn lanes, traffic backups in front of his business have disappeared.

He says the new roadway is helping business.

"The biggest thing we've noticed is a significant decrease in the amount of traffic at any given time. Cars would be backed up towards Westward Look. And at this point, if you look, there's no traffic. There's no cars backed up. It's much easier to access our business, both getting in and out of the parking lot," Zimnoch said.

Tucson's second indirect left turn intersection is nearly ready.

There will be nighttime paving on Grant at Oracle overnight Wednesday and Thursday.

Then next week expect daytime delays as manhole covers are made flush with the pavement and other construction continues.

Grant and Oracle is set to be completed in mid-October.

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