Outdated traffic lights cause concerns

C ity leaders in Clovis and Portales are concerned traffic lights in Portales may pose a safety risk to workers. The Clovis News Journal reports that its an issue the cities plan to take up with the state, which owns the lights.

During a Clovis Public Works Committee meeting on Wednesday the issues of faulty wiring and outdated equipment were brought to light. For at least the past 4 years, Clovis traffic personnel have maintained the state-owned traffic lights in Portales.

Kevin Musick, traffic control supervisor with Clovis' Public Works told the committee because of the danger to his technicians and the potential for traffic crashes, Clovis needs to withdraw to avoid liability if the state doesn't fix the problems.

"It's a scary, dangerous situation that's going to come up," he said. "We're going (to) get sued, there's no doubt about it... It's a time-bomb waiting to go off."

Musick also said, the agreement between the communities was made to help save the state from having to send a technician from Santa Fe. Also, because Portales doesn't have personnel trained in traffic light repair and maintenance.

City Manager Joe Thomas, recommended Clovis and Portales meet with the state to try and get the systems upgraded and repaired. If those talks are unsuccessful, Thomas said he would recommend Clovis withdraw from the agreement.

Portales' City Manage Tom Howell said efforts are under way to set a meeting with the state. He said the issues definitely need to be resolved and Portales does not have the technical expertise to deal with the lights without assistance.

Howell also said he was aware the systems were aging, but wasn't fully aware of the safety concerns until Wednesday.

Recently, Musick said a light at First and Main Streets was flashing red and displaying green at the same time. Technicians trying to repair it had to stand in pooled rain water.

Some of the lights and accompanying cabinets are so old replacement parts aren't available, modifications have been made to wiring without documentation or updated schematics and several of the light systems do not meet electrical codes.