City works to put traffic signal backup batteries at every intersection

City works to put traffic signal backup batteries at every intersection
City officials work to get traffic signal backup batteries at every intersection.

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Power outages can create chaos of all kinds, not the least of which are traffic problems.

City officials are hoping to put something at each intersection in Jonesboro to reduce those problems.

At major intersections like Red Wolf and Highland, you might have noticed these battery backups for the traffic signals.

If the 2019 budget is approved, the city will add ten more traffic signal backup batteries to intersections in town.
If the 2019 budget is approved, the city will add ten more traffic signal backup batteries to intersections in town. ((Source: KAIT-TV))

The city has them on less than half of the intersections in town right now, but the goal is to get them on ten more next year, if the proposed budget is approved.

The battery backups can keep traffic signals working for up to 12 hours after the power goes out.

The biggest benefit is safety for drivers, as well as police officers.

"So when we have a power outage, a lot of times if the signal is dark it takes an officer or maybe even two officers to run that intersection," Traffic Operations Engineer Mark Nichols said. "So in the event of an emergency when power is out, it keeps those officers from having to spend their time directing traffic and they can be helping other citizens of Jonesboro."

Each backup battery costs about $4,000.

But it saves the city from paying over time for a technician sent out in the middle of the night to work on the downed lights.

The city uses traffic volume to determine which intersections get the batteries first.

If the budget is approved, the Highland Drive and Harrisburg Road intersection will likely be at the top of the list to receive one of the new backups.

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