'Smart' traffic lights could limit traffic problems in Fort Lee

"Smart" traffic lights stay green until traffic builds up at an intersection. They are able to adjust for traffic flow. (5/18/15)

FORT LEE - The town of Fort Lee is planning to roll out "Smart-light" traffic technology to combat its chronic traffic problems, officials have announced.

With its access to the George Washington Bridge and several major highways, Fort Lee has arguably some of the worst traffic in the state. Instead of the current system of timed traffic lights, the planned "smart-lights" remain green until cars start building up on crossroads. Then the light will turn red.

Another feature is that if one intersection gets overwhelmed with traffic, the lights at other intersections will adjust to allow traffic to slow better.

"They're constantly adjusting, constantly adapting," says Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich. "We're excited about it."

The technology costs anywhere from $700,000 to $1.6 million. The costs will be covered by property developers who are building new high-rise buildings and an entertainment complex in town.

Mayor Sokolich says that if for some reason there was a breakdown or a glitch in the system, the "smart-lights" would automatically switch to the traditional light system.

Residents in town are excited for the new technology.

"People don't have to worry about their tax dollars being spent on something that their tax dollars didn't cause," says Adrian Stelmach, a Fort Lee resident.

The new traffic lights should be installed by the late summer or early fall.

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