Investigation reveals speedy traffic lights at area-intersections

Posted at 12:42 AM, Sep 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-21 00:45:48-04

HANOVER COUNTY, Va. -- A local driver reached out to CBS 6 Problem Solvers after he said traffic lights at a busy Hanover intersection are too short.

Hazim Garada said he had a gut feeling there was a timing problem at the intersection of Bell Creek Rd. and Mechanicsville Turnpike, where he drives through every other day.

“I’ve never seen a traffic signal turn from green, yellow, and red in less than 15 seconds,” he said.

The specific light he’s referring to is when you try to turn from Bell Creek Rd. onto Mechanicsville Turnpike.

Bell Creek Rd. and Mechanicsville Turnpike

Bell Creek Rd. and Mechanicsville Turnpike

Garada said he ended up with a $200 summons for failure to obey a traffic light because of the short light.

“You have cars behind you. You have cars in front of you. You can’t do anything and you just keep going.  Then, there was a policeman right on the side sitting at the intersection and for whatever reason they decided to stop only my car,” said Garada.

Ultimately, Grada said he went to court and the judge reduced the fine to the $69 court cost and instructed him to go to driving school.

“If there is a mis-timing of the traffic light, half of those cars are breaking the law every day,” he said.

Hazim Garada

Hazim Garada

When Grada reached out to CBS 6 Problem Solvers, we investigated the traffic signal at the intersection for ourselves.

It didn’t take long to find driver after driver running through the red light.

We also used a stop watch to time the traffic light at the intersection.

We found that the green light timed out to 11 seconds while the yellow light turned to red in three seconds. That gives drivers a total of 14 seconds to get through Bell Creek and Mechanicsville Turnpike.

As we continued our investigation we discovered this isn’t just an issue in Hanover County.

We spotted a similar situation in Chesterfield County at the intersection of Hull Street and Courthouse roads. Drivers rushed to get through the intersection as they turn from Hull Street onto Courthouse Road with very little time.

Hull Street and Courthouse Road

Hull Street and Courthouse Road

The Virginia Department of Transportation is responsible for maintaining the traffic signals at both intersections, so we went to them for answers.

“It was 11 seconds for the green light, three seconds for the yellow light. Is that too short?” CBS 6 reporter Sandra Jones asked VDOT traffic signal manager Enrique Burgos.

“It depends on how much traffic is there,” he said.

Burgos admitted there is a mis-timing issue at both intersections.

“What we found is that there is too much traffic compared to the time that we have given them to go through,” he said.


Bell Creek Rd. and Mechanicsville Turnpike intersection

He says now they will make an adjustment at the intersections.

Burgos said construction at Bell Creek and Mechanicsville is having an impact on the traffic signal.

VDOT is now working with the contractor to adjust the timing.

At Hull Street and Courthouse, Burgos says technicians also found too many cars at the left turn signal for the allotted time.

“So, we can probably add more time and help in this situation,” he said.

Hazim Garada said the much needed changes will make his Hanover compute safer and a little less stressful.

“Your TV station is doing the right thing, bringing this up… because now things are getting fixed.”

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