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Chico traffic lights receiving updates

Chico Engineers are working to ensure all the traffic lights have access to the internet, creating a smarter traffic light system.

Posted: Feb 25, 2021 6:19 PM

CHICO, Calif. - The traffic light system in Chico is about to get smarter as Chico Engineers are working to ensure all the traffic lights have access to internet.

The senior traffic engineer said some of the equipment is over 30-years-old, so they need to update it.

Right now they already have the green light to change some lights on Esplanade.

"So the newer technology that improves circulation or congestion by synchronizing traffic signals better requires communications," Senior Engineer Bikram Kahlon said.

Bikram Kahlon said adding internet to the signals will improve congestion, but also helps workers.

Normally they would have to come out to any light that has issues, but now all of that can be controlled from an office.

"It is basically a computer at every signal. So you can connect with that computer remotely and see the issues and make changes. That is the missing piece," Kahlon said.

Kahlon said how much it will cost depends on how the city plans to get internet.

"You could get wireless which is much cheaper, but it does not have the same capabilities from strength wise, signal strength wise," Kahlon explained. "The option is wired which is fiber. Physically you have to install a cable for wire connection which is much more expensive."

Kahlon said the wireless is about $10 to $12 million for the whole city and wired is about $20 million.

The lights from Memorial to 11th on Esplanade are going to have wireless internet, so that will be the test for others around the city.

The lights do not all need to be updated at the same time.

Kahlon said they are hoping to receive grants as they go to pay for the updates. 

To see the whole proposal from the city, the click HERE.

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