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Stoplight replacement project causing some traffic headaches

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Driving on Bridge Road toward the South Side Bridge on Thursday morning started out normal for South Hills residents.

Then they got to the stoplight before the bridge. The light was red.

So they waited. And waited. And waited.

The light finally turned green, but didn't remain that way for long, leaving some drivers confused about the sequencing of the lights.

Turns out, those motorists weren't delusional. That particular light is not operating as it does normally.

City Traffic Engineer George Robson said the work is related to a massive project to replace and repair traffic lights at nearly 60 intersections in the downtown and East End areas of the city.

"As part of the preparations to do the renovations, they've disabled the vehicle detectors," Robson said.

That change means that particular traffic signal is no longer activated by a vehicle's weight. Instead, the light is now on a timer.

"We're aware of it," Robson said.

The West Virginia Department of Highways is administering the project, but the city is working with the DOH to help ease the delays and adverse impacts on drivers.

"We just want everybody to be patient," Department of Transportation spokesman Brent Walker said.

The $4.6 million project will replace traffic lights, street signs, and poles and install new pedestrian crossings throughout the East End and downtown, including along Kanawha Boulevard.

Some of the work has been visible already. Intersections in the East End have already started to be cut open for the work. Bayliss and Ramey is the contractor for the project.

"It's the largest traffic signal project we've done," Walker said.

The new traffic lights will be similar to those found on Washington Street in the East End.

The contractor has until the end of 2014 to complete the work. Until then, drivers should be prepared for variances from the normal operation of traffic lights in the work area. Walker said the contractor will be making adjustments to the timing of the lights as problems arise.

Contact writer Matt Murphy at Matt.Murphy@dailymail.com or 304-348-4817.


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