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The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

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Northwood has installed warning lights at three intersections that will notify motorists that trains are passing railroad crossings to give them the opportunity to select an alternate route and reduce traffic congestion.

“The last camera was installed. So we are closer to operating them,” said City Administrator Bob Anderson.

The lights have been installed at the intersections of Wales and East Broadway, Wales and Drouillard heading into Walbridge, and at Wales and Woodville, he said.

Police Chief Thomas Cairl has been working on the project since October 2015, said Anderson.

Cairl said the blue warning lights are set atop of poles at the intersections.

“There are strobes on the top of the poles,” said Cairl. “It’s very similar to what Oregon has done.”

Oregon has had blue warning lights at the intersections of Pickle Road/Wheeling Street, Pickle Road/Woodville Road, and at Otter Creek Road and Corduroy Road. Yellow signs next to the lights state that trains are blocking the road when the blue lights are flashing.

“Even though we redesigned Wales, we still have that one set of railroad tracks that the railroad likes to block,” said Cairl. “And they block them for a period of time. It’s a big inconvenience. If you drive from Woodville Road onto Wales and all the way up over two sets of overpasses, motorists are often stopped by a train. Then you have trucks and school buses that can’t turn around. So there is a pole at East Broadway and Wales, a pole at the new turn at Wales and Drouillard, and one at Woodville Road as you turn onto Wales,” said Cairl.


Wireless system
The lights are linked to a wireless system on the police department’s communications tower.

“At the railroad tracks, there is a bullet camera on top of a pole that will sense the train blocking the road,” he said. The tower will then send an indicator to turn on the lights at all three locations.

“The strobe light on top of the poles will turn on so you can see the lights from 365 degrees around. In Oregon, motorists have to actually be facing the lights to see them,” he said.

“I’m hoping that the light on East Broadway and Wales can be seen all the way down at Andrus Road before the trucks and buses make the turn. That’s a long section. If they’re coming from Andrus or Wales, hopefully they’ll be able to see the light because it’s high enough. They can hopefully turn around and head back the other way, knowing it’s blocked already. A lot of people get frustrated by it. We get a lot of calls.”

Cairl said he had initially hoped that the city could install the lights on poles that had already been installed by the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), but the request had been denied by ODOT. “They didn’t want it to take away from their intersection design,” said Cairl.

The lights are solar powered, he added, to reduce electrical costs by Toledo Edison. Like Oregon, signs will inform motorists that Wales Road is blocked when the lights are flashing.

“We’re getting close to getting them operational. It’s not functional yet. Everything has to be synced together. But everything is ready on the tower, and all the devices have been installed at each location.

 

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