MANATEE -- Vishal Kakkad says he is doing a good job if no one notices his work.
Kakkad is Manatee County's Traffic Engineering Division manager, the man who tinkers with the timing of traffic signals to make traffic flow smoother.
Beginning Monday he will be busy through March as the county adjusts and re-times traffic signals at 59 intersections under a new phase of the Advanced Traffic Management System, also known as ATMS.
"We had a similar effort last year," Kakkad said, speaking of a phase which focused mostly on state roads and was completed in March. "All of our efforts are on county roads in this new segment."
Some of the major roads included in this phase include 59th Street West, 26th Street West between Manatee Avenue and Cortez Road in Bradenton; 63rd Avenue East. between U.S. 41 and U.S. 301, Lakewood Ranch Boulevard between State Roads 64 and 70 and University Parkway east of Interstate 75.
Although Kakkad promises there will be no lane closures during the work, there will be some new timing on green arrows, which could throw motorists off a bit.
"The adjustments that may require some caution are regarding left turn sequencing," Kakkad said. "There will be four or five locations where motorists may notice the left turn is not going up at time they are used to. It's been sequenced a little differently to facilitate the movement of the traffic,"
When it is finally completed, this Florida Department of Transportation-funded project will allow more than 230 traffic signals in Manatee County to be better "coordinated" with each other but it will not mean a continuous chain of green lights around town during rush hours, said Nick Azzara, a Manatee County spokesman.
"The project is designed to decrease travel times by increasing the efficiency of traf
fic signals," Azzara said.
The re-timing project is the fourth major phase of the ATMS project which includes upgrading traffic signals and adding vehicle detection devices in order to increase traffic efficiency and reduce delays on major roads throughout Manatee and Sarasota counties, Azzara said.
The current settings have been compiled from collecting data last year during the slow and peak motorists seasons and analyzing it, Kakkad said.
Driving patterns are studies a various times during a day.
"Traffic is not the same throughout the day," Kakkad said. "In the morning people are going into town and in the evening going back to their houses. When we analyze the data, it gives us a snapshot that we are now using to make the corridors more efficient."
"We move fairly well," added Kakkad, speaking of the overall county traffic picture. "I have seen these re-timing projects help thoroughfares tremendously."