Red light! Iqaluit's first traffic lights cause social media stir

Work has begun on Iqaluit's Federal Road — and with it, a first for Nunavut's capital: traffic lights.

Traffic lights, a first for the capital city, have social media abuzz with sarcasm and disbelief

The street light sits in front of a 'stop line' sign, written in both English and Inuktitut. The lights were installed temporarily while construction is done on Federal Road. (CBC)

Work has begun on Iqaluit's Federal Road — and with it, a first for Nunavut's capital: traffic lights.

The project, which began Monday, involves paving a long stretch of the road, from Qaqqamiut Road to Ikaluktuutiak Drive. This stretch is a busy hub in Iqaluit, serving as an entrance to the city from the airport terminal. Traffic is down to one lane in parts of the road while work is completed.

However, it's the lights, which were installed to help with traffic flow during the project, that have locals abuzz on social media. Typically, Iqaluit does not have any traffic lights, making the features a curiosity for residents, rather than the commute-halting nuisance they're often seen as in larger cities.

Some residents took to Twitter to share their disbelief — some pointing out that despite the lights, construction workers were still on site directing traffic flow:

While others simply remarked at the novelty of the situation:

Permanent lights have been discussed in the city before. They were considered in 2009 as part of a revamp of the city's road system. However, they were ultimately not pursued after concerns the price tag was too expensive for the short amount of time they would save commuters.

"Is it right for us to spend a half a million dollars so I can get home three or four minutes earlier?" asked then-councillor Glenn Williams at a meeting discussing the proposal.

There is no word yet on how long the lights will remain in place, though a release issued by the city stated that paving of the road is scheduled to begin in July and will continue throughout the summer.

Construction work on the road is expected to last through the summer months. (CBC)

With files from Michael Salomonie