PEI

Traffic light issues resolved at displaced left in Charlottetown

A controller at the new $5.3 million displaced left turn failed over the weekend, causing the two cross-over intersections' traffic lights to flash red for nearly 48 hours.

Some of the traffic lights were set to flashing red for much of the weekend

The traffic lights that control bypass traffic from crossing over into the displaced left turn lane were flashing red for much of the weekend. (CBC)

A technical issue that left some traffic lights at Charlottetown's displaced left intersection flashing red over the weekend has been resolved.

The $5.3 million displaced left turn was officially opened at one of the busiest intersections in the province at the end of November.

Early Saturday afternoon, the secondary controller for some of the interchange equipment failed. The lights at the main intersection continued working fine. 

The lights that control the bypass crossover to the two left turning lanes were no longer cycling through the lights and remained on a flashing red.

Motorists are to treat the flashing red traffic lights as they would a stop sign — only proceeding when it is safe to do so. (CBC)

"So it operated as a stop in both directions," said Stephen Yeo,chief engineer with the Department of Transportation.

"Unfortunately, this happened on a Saturday so we couldn't really get it fixed until Monday morning."

Transportation workers were on hand Monday to help direct traffic through those intersections to keep morning commuters moving smoothly.

Work crews were able to get the temporary replacement part programmed and reinstalled around 10:30 Monday morning allowing traffic patterns to return to normal.

Stephen Yeo, chief engineer with the Department of Transportation, says the new replacement parts will make similar repairs in the future much faster. (Wayne Thibodeau/CBC)

A new control unit is on its way from Ontario, as well as additional replacement parts. Yeo said having the pre-programmed equipment on hand will allow them to fix problems like this much faster in the future.

The repair costs will be covered by warranty.

Yeo said he's hearing nothing but positive comments from those who use the intersection.

After opening on Nov. 29, 2020, the displaced left turn at St. Peters Road and the bypass was the first in Canada. (CBC)

The true test, he said, will come when tourist levels increase once again after the pandemic.

"It'll be nice to see how it operates after COVID is over and we get our tourists back," said Yeo. 

"We did see some long lineups there during the summertime going through the intersection, which will be greatly reduced now for travel time."

Charlottetown police confirm there has not been an accident at the intersection since it opened Nov. 29, 2020 — and none this past weekend during the temporary malfunction.

More from CBC P.E.I.

With files from Wayne Thibodeau

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