The traffic light at Independence and Pacific streets in Cape Girardeau is working just fine, according to a city official.
True, it went from green-yellow-red to a constant flashing pattern five weeks ago, according to Geoff Dial, special projects coordinator for Cape Girardeau's Public Works Department. But that isn't a cause for concern.
"We programmed it to flash the way," Dial said, because the city is considering removing the signal from that intersection. The equipment could be installed at Bloomfield and South Silver Springs roads.
Federal guidelines require traffic lights to flash continually for 90 days before they are removed from an intersection. The Cape Girardeau City Council votes on whether lights and traffic signs will be installed.
"I'm not the one who makes the decision. I just give them all the data," Dial said. He's in the process of verifying earlier studies on traffic volume at Independence and Pacific streets.
The current weeklong study ends at 6 a.m. Tuesday. A similar study will be done at Bloomfield and South Silver Springs roads.
What Dial called "a whole list of different calculations" are used to determine whether a traffic light is installed or removed.
"There's a ton of different criteria," he said, including the number of vehicles passing through an intersection at eight-, four and two-hour intervals and the rate of pedestrian traffic. But public opinion is also part of the equation.
He said equipment used to operate the light was damaged in a car crash weeks ago. The cabinet needs to be replaced, but "the electronics all work."
A tarp is being used to cover the damaged cabinet.
Traffic lights are not as simple as they may appear, Dial said. Components include conflict monitors, which guard against both directions having green lights at the same time and can work with radios to coordinate light timing at several locations, as well as the cameras that replaced traffic detectors once embedded in the pavement.
Dial said the final decision about the light at Pacific and Independence streets will be on an upcoming city council agenda, but the date has not yet been set. At that time, residents can participate in a public hearing on the decision.
335-6611, extension 127