Bethel to receive grant to upgrade traffic signals

The good news emerging from a report by Bethel grant consultants Brandsetter Carroll is that the village has definitely been awarded a grant to update their antiquated traffic light system.

The bad news, however, is a matter of when. Currently, the project may have a two or three year waiting period, said Ben Brandsetter, but that could change, given the right circumstances.

“Basically, OKI approved the grant for the project, which is a total of over $150,000,” said Brandsetter. “OKI will pay over $120,000 for the signal upgrades for the village. The intent is to upgrade the signals to a more modern timing configuration and also install LED signal heads which will improve the energy savings of the signals. We anticipate to start the design in a few months and finalize the design by the first quarter of next year. We’ll coordinate with the ODOT district office. They will have the final approval of the plan, and then it will go through the ODOT process to begin construction.”

OKI, or Ohio Kentucky Indiana Regional Council of Governments, is a regional council dedicated to the development of the tri-state region. To that end, infrastructure has played an important role in their strategy, which seeks to improve environmental and transportation issues through their congestion management and air quality program, which is what the Bethel traffic signal project will be funded as. However, seeing that project completed soon, said Brandsetter, will require that the right series of circumstances come together.

“This is actually a long-term funding cycle, but for a project of this size, they may pull the money forward into 2007 to get this done,” said Brandsetter. “I believe this application is for 2009, which is when the money is actually allocated.”

The project will replace the four signals located in the middle of Bethel. The scope of the project will not only replace the lights themselves, but will allow for equipment that will program the lights to change at more efficient intervals, in theory improving traffic flow throughout the village.

Residents at the meeting suggested that, if the funding was guaranteed, that the project begin immediately on loan, but Brandsetter said that it would not be permitted under the terms of the grant. However, should other grants be postponed or finished under budget, the Bethel project may be bumped up.

“OKI may be able to work their money around,” said Brandsetter. “They may have available dollars they can pull forward because other projects are pushed back or go under budget. We’ll have a better idea later.”