CONWAY, Ark. (KTHV) - As Conway continues to see growth, the city is working to alleviate some of the traffic congestion that comes with it.
The city plans to install new adaptive traffic signals on Dave Ward Drive that adjust based on traffic conditions.
“Dave Ward Drive is a congested corridor – probably one of the busiest in Conway,” City Street & Engineering Director Finley Vinson said.
On one side of I-40, roundabouts help ease some of that congestion, but stop lights continue to plague drivers on the other.
“It has irregular signal spacing which makes it difficult to time from a traditional perspective, and some of the signals are very close together – especially near I-40,” said Vinson. “That causes a lot of back up.”
Currently, the cycle length is on a timer that changes only a few times a day, Vinson said. The new smart signals can communicate with each other and adjust based on traffic conditions detected by road sensors.
“This system can detect how heavy the traffic is and change that cycle length on the fly based on how heavy the traffic is,” said Vinson.
A federal grant administered by the Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT) will pay for 80 percent of the project, according to ARDOT spokesperson Danny Straessle. The city of Conway will cover the remaining cost.
Vinson expects the new signals and software to control them should be up and running by early 2019.
“People are very excited about this,” said Vinson.
The city has also been awarded a grant to install adaptive signals on Oak Street, which is considered one of the city’s most congested roadways. Vinson said it could be several years before those lights are installed.