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This set of traffic lights on Road Road near the high school will be removed as new signals will be placed at the intersection of Pinion Road. The new lights are planned to be installed and operational this fall.

New traffic lights near Derby High School may not be going in for a while, but city officials want to get the jump on at least one part of the project: buying the signal poles. 

That’s because it can take up to six months to obtain them, according to Director of Planning and Engineering Dan Squires. 

One of the main reasons for that is that they are a specialty item with only one vendor providing them for this area.   

With that in mind, the City Council approved his recommendation at its Feb. 11 meeting to purchase four signal poles from Gades Sales for the intersection of Pinion Road and Rock Road. 

“Pre-purchasing will allow fabrication of poles to begin while final project documents are completed and the project is bid,” Squires told the council. 

The plan calls for lights to be in and working when school starts up in the fall. Because of that intent, the pre-purchase is needed, Squires said. 

The contract amount is not to be more than $70,000. 

The estimated overall cost for design and installation of the new signals is $250,000, of which 80 percent, or $200,000, will be paid by the city and 20 percent, or $50,000, by the district. TranSystems is undertaking the design work at a cost of $32,000.

Pre-purchasing the poles will result in cost savings by eliminating the contractor markup, which is typically 15 percent, Squires said. 

The project involves a new signalized access point to be constructed to align with Pinion. The existing entrance at Rock will be removed and those lights and poles taken out. 

The project is part of work now under construction at the high school. 

Other projects to facilitate traffic flow and access to the school include completion of the perimeter loop from the main student parking area to Rock Road.

When the time comes to put in the new lights, the city will hand over the poles to the contractor and the project will get underway. 

The lights, or signal heads, don’t have the same amount of lead time, so it won’t be an issue getting them, Squires said. 

Also, the poles and lights currently there will be put in the city’s Public Works yard for possible future use. 

“If a vehicle hits one later on, we’ll have them,” he said. “The important thing is that we’re not throwing anything away.” 

There isn’t much resale value to the parts, or as scrap, so it’s a better investment to simply hang on to the poles and lights, he said. 

And there’s no point in mixing the old lights with new poles, Squires said, as that can run into warranty issues. 

Installing the poles and lights is a specialty that calls for an outside vendor. Two of the most active ones, Sims Electric Service and Phillips Southern Electric, have both done projects along Rock Road in Derby – Sims at Decarsky Park and Phillips at Cambridge Street.