Expensive part must be custom built and programmed, says director of public works
With traffic lights out for a couple weeks at King and Yonge streets in Midland, some residents are wondering what is holding up the repairs.
The lights are expected to be back up and running this or next week, said Shawn Berriault, the town’s director of public works.
Deputy Mayor Mike Ross broached the subject during Monday’s council meeting, saying, “I can’t believe how many questions I’ve gotten about that light.”
A motorist hit the traffic pole with his or her car, wrecking the light’s controller piece before driving off, Berriault explained.
It will cost the town about $25,000 to repair the damage, he said. That includes between $15,000 and $17,000 for a new controller, plus costs for a new pole and installation. Berriault said the town has asked Midland police for help in locating the driver to recoup the expense.
He said the fix is not as simple as using a spare part because there is not such a thing for the town’s traffic lights. Each one is different and requires an outside company – in this case, Markham-based Econolite Canada – to build and then program it, he said.
“They don’t have them in stock,” he said. “It’s not uncommon for it to take so long.”
Berriault pointed to a similar incident in Midland about four years ago when it took a month to get a traffic light working again.
Though not ideal, the flashing red light is “functioning quite well,” he said, but “pedestrians are having a problem because cars aren’t stopping for them.”
When encountering a flashing red light at an intersection, vehicles must stop completely before driving through.
There have been no accidents at the intersection since Jan. 2 – when the lights were working – and Midland police have received no complaints other than questions about when to expect the repair, according to Insp. Ron Wheeldon.
Berriault said the part should arrive in Midland this week and Walker’s Electric will “get it installed as soon as possible.”