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Traffic Lights Will Get Upgrade To Withstand Power Outages

New equipment would help provide electricity to traffic signals at 26 city intersections in case the electricity goes out.

The next time the power goes out, drivers in Rancho Santa Margarita can breathe a little easier.

On Wednesday night, the city council approved the implementation of battery backup systems for traffic signals at 26 city intersections.

City staff expects the systems to keep the signals running longer in the event of a planned or unplanned power outage.

“We heartily endorse this product,” said City Manager Steve Hayman, who is acting in an interim role since his retirement at the end of December. “More than anything, it is our residents and people who commute through this community that will find the value in this project.”

With a 4-0 vote—Carol Gamble was not in attendance—officials awarded the contract for the battery backup system construction to Republic ITS, an electrical contracting and engineering firm.

The project will cost $228,470 and will be paid for by budgeted gas tax funds and available Measure M2 monies.

Much of the proposed systems will go into place at intersections along Santa Margarita Parkway and Antonio Parkway.

Maintenance costs will be $38 per unit per month—a total of $998 per month—according to City Engineer Max Maximous.

City staff expects Republic ITS to complete the construction and installation of the backup systems in March.

Seven companies bid on the project, and Republic ITS was the lowest bidder.

However, Maximous said that the company will follow government standards and has a record of doing quality work.

He added that people don’t have to worry that the backup systems will be made out of “spare parts.”  

Last year there were 20 planned or unplanned power outages in Rancho Santa Margarita, according to Maximous.

The devices are under warranty for five years and have a life expectancy of 15 years.

For a map of the upcoming battery backup system locations, click here to see the staff report and scroll to the last page.

Other business

— The city’s financial reporting system got a clean bill of health, according to the annual audit.

— The council determined that Mayor Tony Beall and Mayor Pro Tempore Steve Baric will handle salary negotiations when it selects the new city manager.

— The council honored two Orange County Sheriff deputies for their service in 2011. Robert Thompson was named RSM “Deputy of the Year,” and the other, Jason Finley, helped uncover a suspected smuggling operation that allegedly stole at least $4 million in merchandise from CVS Pharmacies.

— Students, parents, coaches and councilmembers celebrated the Santa Margarita Catholic High School Football Team for winning the state championship this year. Each player will receive a commendation from the city.

— City Hall, the Bell Tower Regional Community Center and the city library will be closed on Monday in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday.

— The next city council meeting takes place Jan. 25, 7 p.m., at .

Lawrence (Larry) McCook January 12, 2012 at 07:39 PM
Thank you Max Maximous for your diligent and hard work on this worthwhile project!

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