Asked and Answered: How traffic lights get installed

Asked and Answered: How traffic lights get installed

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - We get a lot of questions from people asking about the process of putting in traffic lights in communities, especially in places that are growing quickly.

WTOC spoke with the Georgia Department of Transportation about what goes into these decisions.

The first step in determining whether to put a light in is figuring out who maintains the road in question. GDOT only installs signals on roads that are owned by the state, like Highway 144 in Bryan County or Abercorn Street in Savannah.

Once a city or county government identifies where they want a light, the local government reaches out to GDOT to install the light. The department of transportation conducts a traffic study to ensure the area warrants a signal before doing so.

If the study shows the intersection warrants a signal, the installation begins. The state covers the cost of the signals, which is between $160,000 and $180,000 according to GDOT. That does not include any road construction that needs to be done to accommodate a signal like turn lanes and concrete medians.

The city or county then pays the power bill on operating the traffic light each year.

If the intersection in question involves roads maintained by the city or county, it is up to the governing body of that city or county to install a traffic light. The state has nothing to do with that process.

The best thing to do if you are concerned about a busy spot in your area that you think needs a light, reach out to your local leaders. They can either petition the state for a light or work with the city or county’s public works department to install one.

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