Norwalk gets $3.1 million in state funding to replace four traffic lights

NORWALK — More than $3 million in state funding will go toward replacing four traffic signals along East and West Avenues.

In a meeting Tuesday evening, the Common Council’s Public Works Committee approved the receipt and use of about $3.1 million from the state Department of Transportation to upgrade four traffic signals along East Avenue. The project was fully funded by DOT, said Mike Yeosock, Norwalk principal engineer.

The funds came from a Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality grant from the Federal Highway Administration and administered by DOT, according to city documents.

The four lights being converted are: East Avenue at the intersections of Eversley Avenue and St. John Street, West Avenue at the intersection of Garner Street, and the light outside of Grace Baptist Church on West Avenue.

“The project was funded with about $2.7 million. The state has gone back and found additional funds to cover the difference for the project,” Yeosock said. “There were diversionary signs included in this project that will be removed. We’re just waiting on concurrence from DOT.”

Initially, the project was to include a bid alternate for a traffic signal replacement at the intersection of Newtown Avenue and Allen Road along with several LED-black out diversionary street traffic signs, both of which were removed from the project, according to the documents. LED diversionary signs are often arrows indicating which lanes can turn, which lanes are closed and where turns are not permitted.

“The diversionary signs, the administration didn’t want those added to the project,” Yeosock said. “They felt they put state traffic on city roads. Those are being eliminated from the project.”

Material cost was the driver behind the removal of the diversionary signs and Newtown Avenue light, Yeosock said.

“The price of the signals and the price of steel have just gone up enormously in the last two to three years,” Yeosock said. “This is four signals for $3 million, about $700,000 a signal.”

The cost of each signal includes conduit controllers, mast arms holding up the lights, the lights’ signal heads, video detection, the communications system and the integration into the system at City Hall, Yeosock said.

Three Connecticut-based companies submitted bids to conduct the project work, with the lowest bidder receiving the contract, according to the documents. Ferguson Electric Company, out of Plainville, offered the lowest bid by about $400,000 and was awarded the $3.1 million contract.

East and West Avenues are the latest roads in Norwalk to undergo traffic signal improvements of varying kinds, following several changes made in recent years and anticipated upgrades.

With various lights in the area changing, the city and DOT are working to ensure the lights operate fluidly,

“St John (Street) is being coordinated with the Walk Bridge project, which will be replacing Myrtle and Fitch and Winfield (Streets),” Yeosock said. “They’ll all be coordinated, and we are trying to do a master project for adaptive on that corridor.”

The intersections receiving upgrades lead into the Wall Street area, which will soon undergo a roughly $13 million upgrade as well. In 2021, portions of West and Belden Avenues were fitted with more pedestrian-friendly “adaptive” signals.

Seven existing traffic signals at corners along West and Belden Avenues were converted from traffic responsive to traffic adaptive, meaning the signals change based on traffic patterns in the area rather than a standardized shift from red to green, according to city documents. The adaptive signals are also outside the SoNo Collection mall.

Abigail Brone can be reached at [email protected].

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