Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

January 10, 2014

Cold weather causing havoc with traffic lights

By Amanda Browning Daily News
Greensburg Daily News

---- — GREENSBURG – The recent blast of cold weather to Decatur County has caused a malfunction in the traffic light at the intersection of Lincoln and Tenth streets.

Greensburg Street commissioner Mark Klosterkemper said the new traffic lights are controlled by a complex system. Any kind of malfunction, anywhere in the system, causes the lights to switch to an automatic default of a four-way stop flashing light, in accordance with Indiana law, Klosterkemper told the Daily News.

“There are so many things that could be wrong. It could be wiring, the light head for pedestrian traffic, or a multitude of other things,” Klosterkemper said.

Each control box for the lights at an intersection has a component called the MMU, which gathers data continuously. Klosterkemper was able to use the limited diagnostics from the MMU to ascertain in which area of the lights the problem was located. He determined the malfunction was in the pedestrian lights and was forced to turn them off in order to return the traffic lights to working order.

“Fortunately, because of what and where the problem is, I have the ability to make the light function,” Klosterkemper said.

Due to the complexity of the controlling system and the fact that Greensburg does not have a traffic light technician, Klosterkemper placed a work order request for a service technician to fix the problem. While he was able to narrow the malfunction down to the pedestrian lights, he does not have the proper training to further identify and fix the problem.

Because even the tiniest bit of moisture in the system can cause an error, which automatically triggers the four-way stop flashing light, Klosterkemper said it’s likely that many cities are experiencing similar issues due to the weather. He added that he did not know when the technician would be able to get to Greensburg to fix the light.

“Cold weather wreaks havoc with these things. They are probably more swamped than they’ve been in years,” he said.

Until the malfunction can be repaired, there will be no automated signals to aid pedestrians in crossing the street safely. Fortunately, there is very limited traffic on the Lincoln Street sidewalks during the winter and it is likely that the lack of pedestrian signals won’t inconvenience many people.

Klosterkemper cautioned anyone walking through the intersection to use extra care and attention while crossing. He also advised that any further problems will cause the traffic lights to return to the four-way stop flashing light and for drivers to be cautious and attentive while driving through the intersection.

Contact: Amanda Browning 812-663-3111 x7004; Amanda.browning@greensburgdailynews.com