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$21 million upgrade planned for traffic lights in Baltimore

Baltimore's 23-year-old stoplight system is getting a $21 million upgrade that will gradually improve traffic flow, city Transportation Department officials announced this week.

More than 900 of the city's 1,210 stoplights are operated by a computer system that was installed in 1976 and has lasted 10 years longer than it was supposed to, according to city traffic engineers.

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Another 288 stoplights are essentially lone soldiers, run by control boxes that can't communicate with the computer system, said Richard Baker, a Transportation Department engineering supervisor. If engineers want to change those lights' timing to help cope with traffic tie-ups, work crews must adjust the signals one by one.

The city will pay 20 percent of the cost of the upgrade, or $4.2 million, Baker said.

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The federal government will pay the rest.


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