Frozen traffic signals clog streets with commuters, repair crews

Paul Kurtz
January 31, 2019 - 1:38 pm

Dreamstime

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — When it gets this cold, nothing outside is safe — including traffic lights.

Some intersections became clogged Thursday with traffic as confused drivers tried to make sense of lights stuck on red or green.    

Streets Department Deputy Commissioner Richard Montanez said you may notice repair crews out and about over the next couple of days.   

"If the motor froze up, they'll put what we call a heater bulb in there," he said, "try to provide a little warmth for the motor to move. If they can't get it unfrozen, they carry extra motors in their truck. On days like today, they may keep it inside the truck with them and they stay a little warmer."

Montanez advised drivers to proceed with caution and be patient as crews respond to many problem spots. 

You can also call 311 to report frozen signals. By mid-morning, the Streets Department had already received nearly two dozen calls. The department oversees more than 3,000 traffic signals.

"We do keep extra manpower, especially during the peak hours, to try to answer all the calls," he added, "but our guys are also driving with the traffic so it does take a little longer sometimes to respond."