The traffic lights along 44 street can be the cause of frustration for many drivers. The frustration may only last a bit longer. The City is upgrading the traffic light hardware along the 44 street corridor to encourage better communication among each set of lights.

The 2019 capital project is estimated to cost $466,000 to upgrade the signal light technology. The City’s engineers will install the necessary hardware including cabinets, controllers, detection cameras, cellular modems and other pieces of equipment. The aim is to make the lights communicate with one another coming this fall, which Mayor Aalbers hopes will be ready no later than early 2020.

“Basically, we’re going to have our lights communicating across the city along 44 street, to try and get a more steady flow of traffic,” says Aalbers. “When a person hits a green light, they will hopefully see another green light ahead of them.”

The new light systems will work with existing pedestrian lights, staging the walk signal after traffic lights. The move will also leave the classic traffic signal approach to timing, based off of count data, in favour of collecting real-time data collection and traffic patterns.

The new system may mean pedestrians crossing the highway may have to wait a little longer. Mayor Aalbers sees the technology as a step into the 21st century that will go a long way to improve the city’s busiest roadway.

“Every resident I’ve talked to usually gets around to the traffic lights some time in their day. Certainly, our level of traffic isn’t like it was four years ago. But at the same time, if we can be prepared for the next improvement in the economy, I think our residents and visitors to our city will appreciate it.”

The annual cost for the system after it’s installed is estimated at $19,800. The city believes about 10,000 cars drive through along the 44 street corridor every day.