Bouncing pole to be replaced

Published 9:21 pm Wednesday, February 12, 2020

The city’s traffic engineer said a stoplight pole on Godwin Boulevard that seems to be “bouncing” is not a danger, but the city is still working to take care of the problem.

However, Traffic Engineer Robert Lewis said, it might be a while before that happens.

“It could easily be this fall or later before we could … actually get it replaced,” he said.

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The stoplight pole in question is under the northbound traffic on Godwin Boulevard at its intersection with Burnetts Way and Centerbrooke Lane. The cross-arm sometimes bounces when the wind is just right, Lewis said.

“What we’ve noticed recently is a very specific wind — it’s got to be coming from exactly the right spot — will cause that thing to get in that bouncing oscillation,” Lewis said. “We have not yet come up with what exactly is going on there.”

Lewis said it has been inspected twice, and it is not believed there is any danger to motorists. However, the city does plan to try to replace the pole anyway, because the bouncing causes other issues, Lewis said.

“It creates issues with the cameras working,” he said, referring to the traffic cameras that help the lights operate efficiently. “And it is disconcerting to people. It’s probably just driving people nuts to see that thing move.”

Lewis said replacing the pole will also solve other issues unrelated to the bouncing. It will get the base of the pole farther from the road and away from errant vehicles, and simply get it up to current standards.

“The standards we use today are a little different from the standards they were when that pole was designed and constructed,” he said. “We’re getting ready to take a look at getting a brand-new pole designed specifically for the loading of what’s on that pole.”

Unfortunately, the global market for steel makes it difficult to get it replaced in a timely manner, Lewis said. Therefore, motorists may still be seeing the bouncing for a few months or more.

And while Lewis reiterated he does not believe there is any danger, he understands why someone would hesitate: “We want to remove any doubt anyone may have,” he said. “We are trying to get on top of it as quick as we can.”