MDOT pays for new traffic lights on Main Street in Niles

Published 2:33 pm Thursday, September 12, 2013

traffic lights

The Michigan Department of Transportation is paying for the installation of four new traffic lights at the corners of Main and 2nd and Main and 3rd Streets. Leader photo/AMBROSIA NELDON

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is under budget for a project planned to install two new sets of traffic lights on Main Street in Niles.

The project has enabled the installation of two lights each on the corners of Main and 2nd and Main and 3rd Streets in Niles.

In 2010, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) returned the ownership of Main Street from the center line of 5th Street to the center line of Front Street to the city of Niles. This means that Niles is now responsible for all maintenance of the highway, including road repairs, snow plowing and any other issues that may arise.

As part of the agreement for Niles to regain control of the road, MDOT promised to pay for two new sets of traffic lights that had not been updated in quite some time.

According to Jeff Dunlap, Niles utility manager, the Niles City Traffic Light Project did not utilize any funds from the city of Niles.

Last December, the Niles City Council hired Abonmarsche Consulting from Benton Harbor and Rauhorn Construction from Macomb, Mich. to manage the estimated $270,00 project.

As of now, the total cost of the project is $265,259, nearly $5,000 under budget.

“The new lights are more energy efficient and use LED bulbs,” said Dunlap.

Dunlap said the switching controls have also been upgraded, along with other modernizations.

“The new lights are also in compliance with the latest MDOT standards for traffic signals, so [the project] probably would have been done by the state anyway if they took control of the highway in 2010.

Dunlap said that he has lived in Niles his whole life, and it wouldn’t surprise him to find out it had been 30 years since the lights were upgraded, as he has no memory of new traffic lights being installed.

MacComb Construction is currently installing lights at the corner of Main and 2nd St. in downtown Niles. Once that project is finished, the construction firm will begin installing the lights on Main and 3rd.

The expected completion date for the entire project is Friday, Sept. 20.