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Clever traffic lights prove to be dimmer

PUBLISHED: 10:42 05 March 2010 | UPDATED: 16:57 30 June 2010

Frustrated motorists drumming their fingers at one of Great Yarmouth's busiest bottlenecks have been waiting 16 seconds for non-existent pedestrians to cross after “clever” traffic lights turned out to be dimmer than officials thought.

Frustrated motorists drumming their fingers at one of Great Yarmouth's busiest bottlenecks have been waiting 16 seconds for non-existent pedestrians to cross after “clever” traffic lights turned out to be dimmer than officials thought.

The phasing glitch at Yarmouth Way was highlighted by retired science teacher John Laity, from Caister, who after years of trying to work out just who he was waiting for raised the issue with engineers at County Hall.

A letter appeared in the Mercury last week outlining the problem which meant that sometimes only three vehicles could turn left at a time and calling on officials to justify the phasing.

Having pointed out that anyone turning left into South Quay would have to wait for pedestrians even if there were none waiting he was at first assured someone must have pressed the button.

“I told him that I had never seen anybody cross South Quay and he later admitted that it did appear that whenever the traffic lights changed they assumed someone was crossing and gave them 16 seconds. He has accepted this is nonsense.

“I have waited there many times and always thought someone else would report it and never got round to it myself until now.

“The point I made to him was that there was enough congestion in Yarmouth without holding up those people who could go. I am surprised that no-one had spotted or reported this problem before but I am pleased that I have done so and that hopefully it will be remedied at some time. The sooner the better, of course.”

County hall engineer Tim Livermore said checks had not revealed any malfunctions with the lights but that engineers were recommending changes to the logic of the controller so that motorists were not delayed when there were no pedestrians waiting to cross. He added: “Unfortunately the work involved in carrying out this change is extensive and requires significant input from our signals contractor. Please be assured this has been identified and will be considered for the impending financial year.”

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