The Traffic Engineering Division of the City of Wilmington Planning, Development and Transportation Department is focused on safe, efficient traffic flow of residents and visitors within the City of Wilmington and in parts of New Hanover County. We are located at 206 Operations Center Drive, off of River Road one-half mile north of Independence Boulevard. The Traffic Engineering Division is led by Don Bennett, PE, the City Traffic Engineer. The City Traffic Engineer is also the coordinator of the Safelight red light camera program in the city and is one of the reviewers of red light photos before citations are issued. The City Traffic Engineer has a Senior Traffic Engineering Technician that is responsible for plan review and serves as the city's Street Light Coordinator.
The Traffic Engineering Division is divided into three sections: Administration, Traffic Signals Section, and Signs and Markings Section. You may contact our administrative assistant, Kathy Brennan for assistance at our main phone number for Traffic Engineering of 910.341.7888. .
Report signal malfunctions including signals that are out, or having missing displays to the 911 center.
Traffic Engineering Administration
Traffic Impact Analysis
Traffic Impact Analysis is a vital part of the transportation planning process. It is used for current and future projects which:
- Require changes in infrastructure.
- Modify existing traffic volumes.
- Result in changes to existing traffic patterns.
The Traffic Impact Analysis:
- Helps transportation planners and engineers plan how development projects will affect traffic volumes.
- Assists in determining when new infrastructure is needed.
- Helps to identify existing and future vehicle capacity levels of streets and road sections.
- Is required for large development projects such as new subdivisions and large commercial developments.
The City Traffic Engineer and the City Signal Systems Management Engineer review submitted site developmental plans and traffic impact analysis (TIA) along with staff from Transportation Planning for impact to current and future traffic; and provide feedback on ways to reduce or mitigate impacts to the roadway network from development. Transportation Planning handles the initial application for TIA's; click here for a link to their web page.
Multi-way Stop Requests
Requests for multi-ways stop signs within the city limits require an engineering study of the affected intersection to determine whether the location meets the qualifications. The engineering study includes having a traffic count conducted; and a review of traffic accidents for the last five or ten years at the intersection.
For these requests, contact Traffic Engineering at 910.341.7888.
Reporting a Streetlight Outage
Currently the city leases over 8,025 streetlights from Duke Energy Progress (DEP). As part of the lease, DEP is responsible for the maintenance of the lights. Attached to the streetlight pole or post is a yellow, metal tag that contains an identification number (ID).
- To report a streetlight that is out, cycling on and off, or damaged contact Duke Energy Progress at 800.419.6356 or visit their website. Please provide the pole ID number on the yellow tag to DEP when reporting a streetlight outage or damage.
- Click here to view the city street lighting policy.
- To request an additional streetlight, contact the city's Street Light Coordinator at 910.341.7893.
- Is vegetation blocking a streetlight? Contact the City Park and Recreation Department at 910.341.7855 to have them trim the vegetation around the streetlight.
Call 811 Before You Dig!
It may be surprising, but damage to buried utility lines can occur when doing typical home improvement projects such as putting up a fence, mailbox post, swing set or clothes line pole or planting a tree and shrubbery. If you are beginning a project that requires digging or adjusting the grade of your property, or working within the right-of-way; please contact the NC One-Call Center at 811 or visit their website before digging.
Ever wonder what the colors spray painted on grass, sidewalks or roads indicate? Click here to view NC One-Call Center color chart.
Public Service Announcements and Other Resources
Traffic Signal Section
Traffic Management Center
The Traffic Management Center (TMC) is where the office for the city's Signal System Management Engineer and the city's Signal System Specialist are located. The Signal System Management Engineer oversees the management of the traffic signal system, traffic video cameras, fiber optic network, and traffic signal personnel. Timing of the traffic signals is done by the Signal System Management Engineer and the Signal System Specialist. The Signal System Specialist is in charge of monitoring the operation of the signal system and to develop and modify traffic signal timing plans as needed. TMC staff monitor and troubleshoot the individual traffic signal operation via computers and traffic video cameras. TMC staff analyze major traffic arterial routes for efficiency and conduct signal warrant analysis.
The images from the traffic video cameras are sent to the NCDOT office in Raleigh. A still photo, updated at 2-minute intervals, is available from each camera location. The most recent still photos of these are available at the NCDOT Traveler Information Management Systems website found here .
You can on follow us on twitter as we report on traffic delays on major arterials Monday thru Fridays 6:30 am to 2:30 pm.
265 Operations Center Drive
Traffic Management Center (TMC) personnel on the morning of February 22, 2017 were monitoring traffic around the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge area due to an overturned tractor trailer truck on the Front Street on ramp. The Front Street on ramp was closed for approximately 4 hours. During the closure, traffic from Carolina Beach Road and Burnett Boulevard, including trucks from the port, were re-routed onto South Third Street to the bridge. Traffic signals in the area were re-timed to help alleviate the increased traffic demand on South Third Street.
Traffic Signal Requests
Traffic Engineering Division maintains traffic signals inside and outside the city limits. Here is how a traffic signal operates.
Report signal malfunctions including signals that are out or missing displays to the 911 center
- Requests for signal timing changes may be reported by submitting information by using this form or by phone at 910.341.4676.
Traffic Signal Maintenance Personnel
The city traffic signal maintenance personnel are comprised of one ITS Maintenance Supervisor and eight Electronic and Instrumentation Technicians (Signal Techs). They are responsible for maintenance, troubleshooting, and repair of traffic signals, traffic video cameras, the fiber optic network; and inspecting new traffic signal installation. One of the Electronic and Instrument Technicians serves as the primary locator for the traffic signal underground equipment for NC811 requests. The Signal Techs also maintain and repair the ornamental streetlights in the downtown area, the bridge on River Road in Riverlights, and the new bridge into Love Grove.
Signal Techs generally work 7am to 3:30 pm Mondays thru Fridays. At all other times including nights, weekends, and holidays; there is always one Signal Tech on call to respond to traffic signal malfunctions. These malfunctions can range from a traffic signal in flash (flashing red for one direction, and yellow for cross direction); signals totally dark; traffic signal equipment that been damaged from vehicle accidents (including poles supporting traffic signals being knocked down); or equipment that have been hit by a lighting strike.
Traffic Signal Personnel Performing Emergency Repair Work
Around 11:30 pm on January 8, 2017 a Duke Energy Progress Pole on the northeast corner on Carolina Beach Road and Morningside Drive was damaged in a vehicle accident. Along with power lines attached to that pole were NCDOT traffic signals maintained by City of Wilmington Traffic Engineering. The on-call signal technician responded and was on site around midnight and stayed on scene while power crews replaced the pole.
Additional signal technicians were called in to help out with relocating the attachments of the traffic signals from the damaged pole to a new power pole that was installed by Duke Energy Progress crews overnight. This picture was taken around 6 am on January 9, 2017 while City of Wilmington Traffic Engineering crews were working in 17 degree temperature with a wind chill of 8 degrees.
Traffic Signal Information
Each traffic signal location gets a preventive maintenance (PM) done three times a year; one air PM and two ground PM's. Air PM involves inspecting all components that are above ground which includes the signal heads and their attachment; span wire (what hold the signals up in the air); led displays; connections of traffic and street name signs to the span wire; height of signal heads above the roadway; and the electrical wire and connections to the signals. Air PM's necessitates temporary lane closures that are short in nature that allow our bucket truck to access the traffic signals. Ground PM's typically involve checking the operation of the equipment in the traffic control cabinets. A critical piece of hardware in the traffic control cabinet during one of the ground PM is replaced and brought back to the signal shop for testing.
The signal shop is where the repair and testing of traffic signal related equipment takes place.
Spare traffic signals and street lights equipment are stored here till needed in the field.
Traffic Signal Section Information as of July 2018:
- 41 - Number of traffic signal owned by the City of Wilmington.
- 182 - Number of traffic signals owned by the NCDOT that has been contracted for maintenance and repair by the Traffic Engineering.
- 5,786 - Number of individual traffic signal display heads.
- 62 - Number of miles of Fiber Optic cable that connect NCDOT and City of Wilmington traffic signals and traffic video cameras for communication to the TMC.
- 32 - Number of NCDOT traffic video cameras.
- 761 - Number of City owned street lights and pedestal lights. These are on ornamental posts in the downtown area, bridge on River Road in River Lights and the new bridge to Love Grove. Maintained by Traffic Engineering.
- 240 - Number of pedestrian signals heads that maintained by the City.
- 9 - Number of personnel for maintenance of above equipment. 1 supervisor and 8 signal techs.
Signs and Marking Section
The Signs and Marking section is responsible for street name and traffic control signs on streets and alleys that have been dedicated and accepted as public right-of-way by the City for maintenance; and for street name signs on NCDOT maintained roads. This responsibility includes the installation, maintenance, and repair of these signs. The Signs and Marking section also maintain pavement marking on streets and alley that have accepted by the City. Traffic control signs on NCDOT roads are not maintained by the City, but by the NCDOT.
Street name and traffic control signs installed on ornamental posts on streets and alleys within subdivisions or developments that has been accepted by the City are maintained by the homeowner association (HOA) thru an agreement with the City. Signs and pavement markings on private streets and property are not maintained by the City.
The Sign and Marking section also review submitted plans that involve traffic signs, street name signs and pavement markings on existing or proposed streets for compliance to the city’s standards; and inspection of work after installation. The Signs and Marking section is managed by the City Signs and Marking Engineering Manager, Randall Glazier, who can be contacted at 910-341-0069 .
Signs and Markings Personnel
The city signs and markings personnel consists of one Signs and Markings Supervisor and seven Signs and Markings Technicians. One of the Signs and Markings Technician duties involve producing the traffic control and street name signs for the city. This allows the city to have 3 field crews ( two personnel to a crew) and each crew is assigned one of the three sign sectors in the city. The sign personnel ride through out their assigned sector looking for or responding to damaged or missing signs. During this time they also do preventive maintenance work on signs and remove vegetation that block visibility of signs.
When new pavement markings need to be installed, or existing pavement markings need to be removed or reapplied; this is done by the three signs and markings crews working together. Signs and marking personnel perform various functions during pavement marking operations; some are assigned to traffic control, others to removing existing markings if needed or cleaning the area to be marked, and others are applying the markings. Pavement marking usually occur during the warm months of the year.
Sign Shop and Warehouse
Traffic Engineering Sign Shop manufactures most of the street name and traffic control signs that are used by Traffic Engineering personnel. We maintain an inventory of different sizes and shapes of sign blanks (the metal portion of signs) and of different colors of sign graphic material. This allows our Signs and Markings Technician sign maker to quickly produce signs that have been requested by the field crews.
Signs and Pavement Marking Personnel Installing New Pavement Markings
Traffic Engineering Signs and Markings personnel installed new pavement markings at the intersection of Pine Grove Drive and Holly Tree Road August 1st to August 3rd 2017. The new pavement markings reflect an improved design for vehicles southbound on Pine Grove Drive. Previously, southbound vehicles that had stopped at the traffic signal would back up and inhibit right turning vehicles onto Holly Tree Road. The new design provides a dedicated right turn lane starting at Edinboro Lane for southbound vehicles that want to turn on to Holly Tree Road. Traffic Engineering is constantly looking for subtle (or not so subtle) changes in lane configurations that can eek out greater traffic flow without spending major tax dollars.
New centerline being applied to pavement
Application of first half of new southbound stop bar for the traffic signal
Traffic on both sides of signs and pavement marking personnel as they are installing new gore lines
Traffic cones designate temporary traffic pattern while existing pavement markings are removed
Traffic Engineering Signs and Marking personnel conduct traffic speed studies on neighborhood streets upon request. These studies are conducted one of two ways; use of radar units or use of dynamic speed feedback signs (DSFS) and Radar Message Signs. These studies and the data collection are coordinated by the Signs and Markings Senior Traffic Engineering Technician.
The radar units are used where data is to be collected without the need of providing any feedback to the driver. Traffic Engineering currently have two radar units that can collect traffic data on two lane roads in each direction; and two small radars (Armadillos) that collect traffic data up to two lanes in each direction and classify data as to size of vehicle. These radar are used for short term traffic studies. All four radars are battery powered and can be supplemented by solar to keep the batteries charged for longer study periods. These radars only record the time, speed, and direction of vehicles, and the Armadillos also collect the size of vehicles.
Traffic Engineering currently have 11 DSFS units and 2 Radar Message Signs (RMS) which are powered by solar charged batteries. These units are used for long term studies which usually last three months. DSFS uses a radar to measure vehicle speeds and are only able to detect vehicles approaching the sign. Traffic Engineering personnel are able to communicate with the DSFS units, RMS units and the two Armadillos via wireless communications to retrieve data and change device settings. The DSFS’s displays are turned off for one to two weeks after installation to collect base line data on speeds, then the display are turned on to provide vehicle speed feedback to the driver. These signs can also flash the approaching vehicle's speed and provide a strobe that will come on when the vehicle reaches a certain speed in an attempt to reminder drivers and to prompt them to slow down.
Where collection of vehicle volume is needed without speed information, Signs and Marking has the use of 4 small portable video cameras. These camera are aimed at the center of the intersection to record vehicles entering the intersection from all approaches. The video is then analyze for each approaching lane as to number and direction each departing vehicle direction of travel. This is one of the pieces of information that is used when multi-way stop analysis is requested.
Signs and Markings Sign Maintenance Information:
- 18,663 - Total numbers of signs maintained by Signs and Markings Personnel
- 2,260 - Stop signs
- 152 - Yield signs
- 927 - Speed Limits signs
- 5,396 - Street Name signs
- 205 - One Way signs
- 186 - Do Not Enter signs
- 3 - Wrong Way signs
Sign Specification and Installation Guide - Updated August 30,, 2018
Traffic and Street Name SIgn Checklist - NEW! January 11, 2019
Required Minimum Sign and Plaque Sizes - NEW! January 23, 2019
Request a Sign or Pavement Marking
For sign or pavement marking questions or requests within city limits including requests for a multi-way stop, contact Traffic Engineering at 910.341.7888.
Missing or Damaged Signs
When some types of traffic signs are missing or damaged, a dangerous or hazardous situation is created for road users. Examples are: STOP, YIELD, ONE WAY, DO NOT ENTER and WRONG WAY signs. If you notice a sign of this type is missing or damaged, call 911.
To report other types of signs that are missing or damaged, call 910.341.7888.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Where do I call for a street name sign if I live in New Hanover County but not inside the city limits? Contact New Hanover County Property Management at 910.798.4336
- Where do I call for sign maintenance (other than street name signs) outside the city limits? Contact the North Carolina Department of Transportation at 910.341.2200 or visit the local NCDOT website.