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Posted on Thu. Aug. 21, 2014 - 12:01 am EDT

Traffic signals to get safety-improving back plates

Federal grant will pay for $2.6 million upgrade

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Traffic lights don't do much good if motorists can't see them.

So, with the help of nearly $2.6 million from the federal government, the city will soon install reflective back plates on 298 signals in Fort Wayne and 24 more in New Haven and unincorporated Allen County, according to Traffic Engineer Shan Gunawardena.

The back plates -- black trimmed in yellow -- improve safety by making lighted signals more visible, he said.

The city's Board of Works approved the project Wednesday, and bids could be awarded this fall, with work to began later this year. A few back plates have already been installed in response to specific visibility complaints, Gunawardena said.

At the same time, the grant will also allow workers to replace the LED (light emitting diode) lights on all traffic signals. Before the lights were converted to LED about 12 years ago, they had to be replaced once a year, Gunawardena said. In addition to a longer life span, the LED signals reduce energy costs by 80 percent.

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