Tall City Traffic Lights Out of Sync

Nick Lawton
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - Traffic lights in the Tall City, due to a large increase in drivers on the roads in the last year, have been thrown out of sync.

It never fails.

On your way to work or coming back, you get stopped at one light when the one you need to get to, is green, just out of your reach.

"It's kind of annoying sometimes," one Midland driver told NewsWest 9. "It's frustrating," said another.

And it happens every day.

"I wish there were intelligent lights that would let me go," one Midland driver, said. "It's silly, it's a waste of gas to have people idling and does nothing to help the flow of traffic or congestion."

One of the problems is on Garfield Street and Loop 250. One red light holds drivers in place, while the one in front of it, the one that lets drivers turn onto Loop 250 and get to work, is glowing green in front of them.

The traffic light synchronization system is out of sync.

Since last year, Midland has seen 500-700 more cars driving on the roads. With that kind of increase, traffic reports just six months old are now inaccurate.

"We're gonna have to re-synchronize the whole system with what you could call modern traffic volumes that are now flowing on our streets," Midland Transportation Manager, Gary Saunders said.

To measure traffic flow, traffic lights use cameras or magnetic sensors in the pavement to change. But a broken wire underground and rain damage to a camera could be all it takes to ruin the sync.

Sometimes just the light strobe of an emergency vehicle will do it.

"It will take two, three, four, up to maybe five cycles to get back in step," Saunders said. "When you had a green, now you've got a red. Now it lets you go, and now this one's been holding up. When you get there, it's gonna be red."

So to fight the problem, Midland Transportation Officials will have to adjust the traffic reports for the new large numbers.

They'll also be reaching into their budget to make sure every intersection has cameras for more efficient numbers.

"We want to keep going in that direction, get good cameras mounted above the pavement," Saunders said.

The message to West Texas drivers? Be patient and try leaving earlier as it's a work in progress.