TOWANDA - The Towanda Borough Council on Monday voted to accept a $160,960 bid to upgrade the traffic signals in the borough with ones that will use video cameras to help control the flow of traffic through the intersections.

The council accepted the $160,960 base bid submitted by Wyoming Electric & Signal of Wyoming, Pa., for the project as well as three alternate bids submitted by the company, which will add an additional $15,000 to the project's cost.

The three alternates will pay for the installation of equipment for the traffic lights at the west end of the Veterans Memorial Bridge that will allow drivers of fire trucks, police cars and ambulances to pass freely through those intersections, said Borough Manager Kyle V. Lane.

If an emergency vehicle were approaching those intersections, a device in the vehicle would, for example, cause green lights to remain in place for the vehicle, said Chad J. Decker, director of highway and traffic services for Dawood engineering firm of Enola, Pa.

The video cameras, which will be in operation during non-peak hours, will be used to gauge the amount of traffic approaching the intersection from each direction, Decker said.

If there were a large amount of traffic approaching the intersection from a particular direction, the signal's traffic pattern would adjust to allow that traffic to flow through the intersection, Lane said.

The upgrade of the traffic signals is intended to "speed up traffic through town," Towanda Borough project manager Tom Fairchild Jr. has said.

To coordinate the traffic flow through town, there will be radio linkages between the traffic signals in the three intersections where they are located,

During peak hours, the traffic signals will run according to a set pattern, Decker said.

The video cameras will only be used to make traffic flow better through town, and will not be used for police enforcement of traffic laws, he said.

The project also includes some upgrades to pedestrian crossings at intersections equipped with traffic lights.

The borough has $195,000 left over from a state grant to help pay for the upgrade and for most of the cost of paying an inspector for the traffic signal upgrade, Lane said.

The borough will contribute about $6,000 in funds for the upgrade, Lane said.

James Loewenstein can be reached at (570) 265-1633; or email: jloewenstein@thedailyreview.com.