Michigan Traffic Signals

Some newbie driver
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Re: Michigan Traffic Signals

#11 Post by Some newbie driver » 13 Apr 2020 15:36

May I ask another thing? Aren't those wire span traffic lights a problem under heavy wind weather? I don't mean when hurricanes and all that extreme stuff, no system would be good in that case. But when wind is strong those traffic light should be swinging all the time, right? Is not that troublesome?

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supersobes
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Re: Michigan Traffic Signals

#12 Post by supersobes » 13 Apr 2020 15:55

@Some newbie driver If it's not something extreme like a hurricane or tornado, the signals are usually okay. Form my personal experience, the traffic signals on metal gantry arms aren't any more stable in high winds than wire span traffic signals. They still shake about as the poles flex in the wind. As I'm sure you've noticed in New Mexico in ATS, to help mitigate the effects of wind on traffic signals, some states such as New Mexico, Texas, and Florida will mount the signals horizontally.

(The first video requires opening in a new tab to view as it won't play on the forum.)

You can also see that traffic signals that have a secondary wire under them hardly move at all in the wind such as the example below.

Some newbie driver
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Re: Michigan Traffic Signals

#13 Post by Some newbie driver » 13 Apr 2020 16:19

To he honest, I expected them to move a lot more than on those videos. And I should have thought that people uploads to Youtube videos of everything and I should had searched by myself, too. :roll:

Thanks for the examples @supersobes.

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bobgrey1997
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Re: Michigan Traffic Signals

#14 Post by bobgrey1997 » 13 Apr 2020 17:39

They are not as safe. Being on a wire, they are susceptible to wind tilting then to a non-visible angle during storms.
[Edit]
When I posted this, I was only able to see the first page (my phone didn't seem to want to load more).
The videos above do not seem like very heavy wind.
Here in Arkansas, we still have a coue of these wire lights around. All the others fell down due to wind (and a few from getting hit by trucks, but those still take down the pole lights sometimes).
I have personally seen these things swing in the wind. Due to the lights being suspended over the center of the intersection, when your light is tilted so the light is hard to see, you can not look at the light of the crossing road to figure out of they have green or red. If you can see the cross road light, you can use that to figu out what your light is.

I am a firm believer in the current redundancy-based system:
EVERY side of an intersection must have at least 2 sets of lights (2 light housings each having a green, an amber, and a red light). If the road has more than one lane approaching the intersection, it must have 1 set of lights per lane, spaced so that each set is directly opposite and above the exact center of that lane. This ensures that even if one set is broken, missing, or otherwise unavailable, traffic on approach still has another set to use. Wirespan lights rarely conform to this system (none in Arkansas do), making the wirespan lights less safe than normal lights.

As a "roadgeek", I know these little details and notice when they are missing.
Someone, somewhere designed these details for a reason (usually, safety), so I am a firm believer that they should be followed to the exact letter. This is the primary reason I refuse to have anything to do with California: they don't follow the American highway system standards as they should.

I know, a lot of these things don't exactly matter, but they do to me.

I will admit, it is fun to watch these lights hop around in the light wind. They look so happy! Happy little stoplights...
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supersobes
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Re: Michigan Traffic Signals

#15 Post by supersobes » 14 Apr 2020 17:55

Around here, we don't typically have the wire span signals that go diagonally over the center of the intersection. Instead, most of our wire span signals make a box over the perimeter of the intersection. Our wire span signals also comply with the idea of having a signal for each lane just as the pole mounted ones do. We used to have wire span lights at almost every intersection, but they've all mostly been updated to pole mounted signals. Using the historical imagery on Google Maps street view, I can find these examples of what we had. Our signals also had the secondary wire under the signals to prevent them from tilting up in such a way that the lights would not be visible.

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bobgrey1997
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Re: Michigan Traffic Signals

#16 Post by bobgrey1997 » 14 Apr 2020 20:55

That is probably the best way to set up wire span lights. It is cheaper than poles, as well. Only downside then is that they are slightly less durable (not much), and they do look quite bad (can lower the value of nearby land).

Having them on all side of the intersection allows for the redundancy idea, and the second wire makes them a decent bit more durable than normal.
Does the second wire still allow the lights to do their little happy hop in the wind? I like watching that!
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supersobes
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Re: Michigan Traffic Signals

#17 Post by supersobes » 14 Apr 2020 21:21

bobgrey1997 wrote:
14 Apr 2020 20:55
Does the second wire still allow the lights to do their little happy hop in the wind? I like watching that!
Yeah. Rather than moving back and forth laterally, the lights will bounce up and down vertically the same way they would on a pole arm on a windy day.

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