RIDGELAND — City officials are searching for money for a significant overhaul of traffic signals in five key places citywide worth an excess of $3 million in construction costs.

Aldermen last Tuesday unanimously approved five applications to the Jackson Metropolitan Planning Organization to fully-fund traffic signal projects throughout the city using Surface Transportation Block Grant (STBG) money.

The applications were labeled as “safety improvement projects” and will affect traffic signals at the intersections of Highway 51 and Lake Harbour Drive in the amount of $1,070,500 in construction costs, a $425,000 project at Highland Colony Parkway and Lake Harbour Drive, a $466,000 project at Highland Colony Parkway and Renaissance Driveway number three, and signals on Highland Colony Parkway and Renaissance Driveway number four with construction costs at $460,000 based on current estimates.

The city also submitted an application for $954,000 in general upgrades citywide. The application says the project will specifically replace existing emergency vehicle preemption equipment, installing new video vehicle detection and new un-interruptible power supply systems and installing a traffic signal performance monitoring system at several as of now unspecified intersections.

The total amount asked for in these applications was $3,375,500.

Mayor Gene F. McGee said last week that he thought the project “looked good” and thought the proposed signals were “high-rated.”

Ward 3 Alderman Kevin Holder asked if these improvements would be up-to-date with traffic control and monitoring equipment they have been implementing.

He was informed that these would be up-to-date with citywide standards.

City officials also mentioned that other details needed to be ironed out. Ward 1 Alderman Ken Heard pointed out that they had some breathing room to make decisions until the grants were awarded in February. Applications indicate that the city would like to start on these projects shortly after money is awarded, noting that they would want to start for advertising as early as April 2019.

Another item of discussion was coming up with $340,000 in design engineering costs. A representative for the Public Works Department said that the figure roughly breaks down to $60,000 per two sets of lights. According to the applications, these costs were not eligible for federal funding. 

McGee said that the city would have no problem coming up with the money and had time to explore alternate options, namely through the Mississippi Department of Transportation.

Heard said that this money should be available in the city’s budget.

“We already agreed to pay for infrastructure,” Heard said.

Discussion carried over from Monday night’s work session into Tuesday’s board meeting where the board ultimately agreed to proceed with the plans.