Engineer proposes emergency vehicle preemption to Clarks Green Council

By Ben Freda - For Abington Journal

CLARKS GREEN — During his health and safety committee report at the April 18 borough council meeting, Councilman Dave Rinaldi introduced engineer Jerilyn Luben who spoke about a possible addition to the Green Light Go Project. Luben explained emergency vehicle preemption, a device located on an emergency vehicle that sends a signal to a device on a traffic signal for a specific approach.

“Once that signal is received, it immediately goes yellow on any other conflicting approach, and it provides a green as soon as safely possible for that approach that is being preempted,” she said.

Luben said the preemption is beneficial during congested conditions when vehicles have no room to pull over to let an emergency vehicles pass. Council president Joe Barrasse said he witnessed ambulances approaching Abington Road from East Grove Street.

“Once the traffic lines up on East Grove Street, they have to go around traffic. Some of the traffic could be boxed trucks or whatever and could block the view of people coming up South Abington Road here,” he said. “We definitely want to engage you for the preemption.”

Clarks Summit Police Chief Chris Yarns agreed with Barrasse

“If traffic is backed up, when you have a fire truck or ambulance, you can’t get around,” he said. “You just have to move over or (wait for) the light to turn green.”

Luben then explained a driver might notice a white light illuminated at the intersection which lets the emergency vehicle driver know he or she has control of the intersection.

“When you see that (white light), you should know that someone has preempted that signal,” she said. “So, there should be an emergency vehicle behind you, or in front of you, or that just went through the intersection.”

Luben said she would like to offer the services providing the engineering for the emergency vehicle preemption but she would need direct input for a contractor in order to decide which traffic lights need the signal. She asked if the council determined how to put the package together.

Rinaldi replied the project should be bid.

“If we follow the advice of the auditor general of Pennsylvania, you always get a better deal when you bid,” he said.

Rinaldi said the council will discuss the issue.

Luben then explained the next steps will be the field data collection and to prepare a TE-160, a PennDOT application which gives confirmation from the borough to make changes to traffic lights.

“We would expect within approximately three weeks to be able to have the information ready for submission for your review,” she said. “And then with your concurrence, we would submit that to PennDOT. Once they approve those plans, then we will coordinate with you with respect to the original documents. Once the form is issued, you’re free to move forward with construction.”

In other news, Pete Giermanski from the Clarks Green Shade Tree Commission thanked the council for its support and reported the commission has been awarded a 10-year Tree City USA plaque.

“I also look forward to continuing the work with the borough, including the new mayor Mayor Lawler,” he said. “And as a constant reminder, we’re always looking for new volunteers and also any requests for big trees that we give away as a free service to the community.”

By Ben Freda

For Abington Journal

Reach the Abington Journal newsroom at 570-587-1148 or by email at

Reach the Abington Journal newsroom at 570-587-1148 or by email at