MOUNT VERNON —Downtown traffic intersections will be getting new traffic light controllers installed when the weather breaks. Well, not exactly new, the controllers are 11 years old, Tom Hinkle, traffic signal technician for the city told the News.
New controllers were installed this summer with the sophisticated traffic light system at three intersections when Coshocton Avenue was rebuilt in 2012. The city was given the modern computer-controlled units. Hinkle is in the process preparing them for installation at South Main Street intersections of Vine and Gambier streets and Ohio Avenue.
The controllers in place now are driven mechanically. If you stand beside one as it changes the lights, you can hear the gears running, and they are 30 years old. Hinkle occasionally has to repair them with parts scavenged from other mechanical controllers.
Computer controllers are more reliable meaning less down time when one fails. Those new lights on Coshocton Road do have one failing, he said. The bulbs inside the traffic light are LEDs that burn much longer and brighter. They require less energy and create less heat. The incandescent bulbs in the older devices create heat that melts snow off the lens. The cool burning LEDs won’t melt snow that is blown onto the lens causing Hinkle to occasionally go out with the bucket truck and clear the snow off the lens.
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