The Indiana Department of Transportation’s contractor for changing traffic signal heads at a dozen intersections on U.S. 50 in Seymour began its work Thursday morning.

The project will result in lane closures at each intersection as a crew from Michiana Contracting of Plymouth replaces existing traffic signal heads with new ones that have retroreflective backplates with yellow reflective borders.

The black backplates are designed to improve visibility, and the 3-inch yellow reflective border also alerts drivers of the signal’s presence during a power outage.

The project is part of a statewide effort to significantly reduce crashes at signalized intersections.

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One Federal Highway Administration study documented a crash reduction of 28.6 percent after installation of the new signal head. Reduction in personal-injury crashes was 36.7 percent, according to the state. Reduction in late night/early morning crashes was 49.6 percent.

The crew replacing the signal heads in Seymour began its work at Airport Road and Tipton Street.

Michiana supervisor Nick Fehrer said his plans were to replace signals at three intersections Thursday. The crew will be heading east until the work is done.

“We should be done sometime next week,” he said.

Motorists should expect lane closures at sites where crews are working.

The intersections along U.S. 50 (Tipton Street) in Seymour are at U.S. 31, Sandy Creek Drive, Meadowbrook Drive, Burkart Boulevard, Jackson Park Drive, O’Brien Street, Broadway Street, Chestnut Street, Walnut Street, Pine Street, Community Drive and Airport Road.

The traffic signal heads at three intersections in Brownstown will not be changed at this time.

In the future, whenever a traffic signal along a state or federal highway stops working, it will be replaced with the new signal, INDOT spokesman Harry Maginity said.

Michiana Contracting has a $295,763 contract for the signal modernization project.

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Aubrey Woods is editor of The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at awoods@tribtown.com or 812-523-7051.