Traffic Lights Changed For Odessa Residents

Traffic Lights Changed For Odessa Residents

Brian Wise
NewsWest 9

ODESSA - You take the same road to work everyday. Sometimes your lucky, sometimes your not. Lots of traffic in Odessa means more complicated traffic lights. Hal Feldman, Traffic Coordinator for Odessa, explains the process.

"Our hands are kind of tied about how much time we can give to this movement or this left turn movement or the side street. The whole amount of time has to add up because all the signals on that corridor have to be running the same time system," Feldman said.

The traffic department has light timing down to a science.

Each intersection has a number of lights that turn red, yellow and green in a cycle. Each cycle is a certain length of time. For streets with more traffic, the cycle times for that intersection will be longer.

NewsWest 9 received a call Tuesday night from a resident who said the light at Murphy and Crane stayed red too long. On Wednesday, the Odessa Traffic Department gave 12 extra seconds to the light cycle.

"The call you received, that is an isolated intersection. It's not timed with the adjacent signals. So in a situation like that, we have flexibility. We have more flexibility to add time to a certain phase or certain direction. So what we did in that case was we added more time to the through traffic and what happens is at the end, when all the through cars are through, then you have enough time to make a left turn," Feldman said.

The traffic department says each light is timed so that if drivers go the speed limit, they will hit the green. The only thing that can throw it off is ambulance and other emergency response vehicles. They have permission to change lights and save lives. It takes a light about 22 minutes to get back on track after that.