April 25, 2014 - 00:14
Copperhill has lights again

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Article Author: by Richard Scott
After nearly a year without them, Traffic Lights are once again controlling the flow of motorists through downtown Copperhill.

After nearly a year without them, Traffic Lights are once again controlling the flow of motorists through downtown Copperhill. Shortly after noon last Wednesday, Technicians switched on the two Traffic Signals on Ocoee Street at Ferry Street and Grande Avenue, and removed the stop signs that had been regulating traffic at the two intersections.

The previous City Administration had deactivated the traffic lights early last year, saying parts to repair the antiquated equipment were no longer available, and the city lacked the funds to replace them with new equipment. After several weeks of flashing yellow and red, the signals were turned off entirely and replaced with four-way stop signs. Power was cut to the lights and City officials indicated they would seek permission from the Tennessee Department of Transportation to remove them permanently.

But restoring the traffic lights became a priority for Copperhill’s newly elected Mayor, Eric Waters, who indicated getting the lights back on was one of the top concerns expressed by city residents during his campaign. Shortly after taking office, Waters and City Council Member Kathy Stewart began working to get the lights fixed.

After Stewart arranged for TriState EMC to restore power to the light standards, an electrician quickly determined the source of the problem. According to Mayor Waters the required part, a Transyt Peak 3000 12-channel signal control monitor was readily available, but the list price for the device was $1500 to $2000 a piece, and repairs required two of the monitors.

Looking for an alternative. Waters contacted the Cleveland Utility Department. Officials there indicated the city had recently replaced one of its older traffic signals. “Their old lights had just the part we needed,” said Waters. “They tested them to make sure they were working and donated them to us, saving the city a lot of money.”  While the final bill isn’t in yet, Waters expects the total cost to the city to repair the lights will run about $1500, rather than the $4500 or more the city would have faced had it purchased new parts.

Once an electrician installed the donated parts, a certified traffic technician was brought in to finish the job. “There may be a few bugs we have to work out, because the lights have been sitting for a while,” said the Mayor. “But we’re hoping they’ll be good for awhile.”

The return of the traffic lights seemed to catch drivers unaware last Wednesday. Many motorists were observed stopping at the downtown intersections, despite having a green light. Waters expected it to take a few days for drivers to get the hang of things. “They seemed like they were having difficulty figuring out the stop signs. Most of them were making rolling stops, or just driving through,” Waters observed. “I think we’ll get more attention with the red lights.”

Stewart said reaction to the return of traffic lights was positive, with several people calling City Hall Wednesday to say thank you. “One gentleman came by in person to say he wanted to thank us for fixing the lights,” said Stewart. “We’re thrilled!”


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