Pasco council approves designs for traffic signals

By Geoff Folsom, Tri-City HeraldMay 19, 2014 

The Pasco City Council approved design work Monday night for upgrading 39 traffic signals in the city.

The agreement with Oakland, Calif.-based DKS Associates is for $270,009.

The project will include new controllers for the signals and allow emergency vehicles to pre-empt the signals, said Pasco Public Works Director Ahmad Qayoumi. The new signals will also include flashing yellow lights to allow for left turns for drivers when traffic isn't oncoming.

Of the signals being replaced, 37 are between 20 to 40 years old, which Qayoumi said makes them difficult to find replacement parts for.

Pedestrians will also benefit from the project, Qayoumi said. The upgrades will include 20 new Americans with Disabilities Act compliant ramps, as well as push-button activated pedestrian signals that count down how long walkers have to cross the street.

The traffic signal improvements will cover all the lights in Pasco except for seven already being addressed as part of construction projects on Road 68, Argent Road and Oregon Avenue, Qayoumi said.

Construction on the project will likely go out for bid in January, with the hope of having it completed by summer 2015, Qayoumi said. The final price is not yet known.

"We'll know when we get closer to that," he said.

The council approved a $30,000 study last year to look at the options for replacing traffic signals. Members asked that it not include traffic surveillance cameras at this time.

Also Monday:

-- The council approved an ordinance that bans the use of electronic cigarettes in buildings and vehicles that are open to the public, as well as places of employment, which treats them the same as tobacco cigarettes. The move goes a step further than a 2005 state law, which was considered the most stringent in the country at the time it was passed.

The law also bans smoking in parts of public parks that are within 25 feet of a playground, swimming pool, splash pad or picnic shelter.

-- The council approved a $1.06 million agreement with the Franklin Public Utility District to replace 1,750 streetlights with more energy-efficient LED lights. The city is paying for $600,887 of the project, with a federal Department of Commerce grant to the PUD paying $264,413 and another $192,350 coming from energy incentives. The other half of Pasco's streetlights were replaced after a 2009 grant.

Officials said the new lights will save $50,000 a year in energy costs.

-- Geoff Folsom: 509-582-1543;; Twitter: @GeoffFolsom

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