Traffic lights need repairsSeveral traffic lights in Dickinson are not working correctly and have been causing motorists and city officials headaches.
Several traffic lights in Dickinson are not working correctly and have been causing motorists and city officials headaches.
Shawn Soehren, city engineer, said the root of the problem, as well as when it can be fixed, is unclear.
“We’re just having some issues with the controllers right now,” Soehren said. “The computer that’s telling the lights the timing sequence to go just blanks out. So then someone’s got to go back up there and re-enter that time.”
When it happens, the lights flash red in one direction and yellow the other. Flashing traffic lights at peak hours mean the Dickinson Police Department has to step in and direct traffic.
“If it’s flashing yellow on Highway 22, for example, and you’ve got a lot of traffic, then the side traffic gets backed up because they can never get out,” Soehren said. “Pretty soon it gets so congested that people start making movements they shouldn’t be making, so then the officers end up getting in there to ensure that they can keep things moving.”
DPD Capt. Dustin Dassinger said officers respond to the issue weekly.
“It’s just kind of a periodic nuisance, but it hasn’t caused any traffic issues as far as any accidents,” he said.
The lights continue to flash until an electrician can come in and reset them, Soehren said.
“Sometimes it’s quite frequently, other times it might go a week,” he said. “There was one weekend that he was there three times on a Saturday, for example.”
The issue began in January and has been affecting more and more lights.
“The winter was pretty hard on them and we had some issues there,” Soehren said.
New controllers were ordered more than a month ago, but company delays have kept them from arriving. Soehren is unsure when they will arrive so the issue can be resolved.
Most of the problems are with lights on Highway 22 from Villard to Fourth streets, he added.
The city has spent $4,160 on signal maintenance this year, Soehren said.
“That would include the time that we were working on our lights and it also would include, you know, if a bulb burnt out, if we had to go out and replace that, or any other issues that may have come up with the signals,” Soehren said.