Stop... go.... stop, stop, stop.
Some motorists at the new traffic signal at the intersection of Strong Boulevard and Wyandotte Avenue were finding it slow going on Friday.
At one point on Friday morning, all the traffic going in three different directions were stopped for red lights, while there were no vehicles at all in the two lanes heading east.
At other times during the day, some drivers were puzzled as to why vehicles headed north had the green light, while those heading south had to stay stopped on red.
The same held true for the east-west traffic.
It’s a marked difference from the way traffic has previously been handled for years at the intersection — with a series of stop signs handling eight lanes of traffic.
Questions about why the two lanes of traffic heading south had to remain stopped while the two lanes going north (and the same for east-west) were given the go-ahead by the new traffic signal were relayed to city Facility Maintenance Supervisor Delane Arrington.
“That’s the way it’s designed,” Arrington said.
By keeping the northbound traffic stopped, the southbound drivers in the outside lane can make a left turn without having to worry about oncoming traffic, according to Arrington.
“It’s designed to give you a permitted green arrow,” he said.
“It gives you a green light and a green arrow so you will be able to turn.”
Asked if the green turn arrow is on for a shorter time than the main green light, Arrington said they’re on for the same duration.
As for having all of the cars going all directions stopped at a red light around 8:35 a.m. Friday, Arrington said the system was being checked at that time and there could have been a temporary problem.
“There might have been a glitch,” he said.
Soon afterwards, things were working normally, Arrington said.
He said the new system has video detection to signal the traffic lights when cars are in a particular lane. He believes that will make things run more smoothly when the system is up and working.
“It’s going to ‘see’ the cars that’s coming,” and adjust the signals accordingly, he said.
“Like, if there are eight or nine cars heading south, and a car or two heading north, it will see that and give a green light quicker.”
In May, the McAlester City Council voted to award the Strong Boulevard and Wyandotte Avenue project to Traffic Signals, Inc. for construction of the traffic signal, along with over improvements, for the bid price of $130,076.94.
Handicapped ramps still have to be built. A timer for pedestrians will also be in place. By a push of a button, a countdown will be signaled on how long they have to cross the street before traffic resumes, according to Arrington.
“In a week, to 10 days, it will be complete,” he said.
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