For more than four months, drivers and pedestrians have navigated the busiest intersection in Downtown Madison with extra caution due to a broken traffic light wrecked by a wayward truck driver in late December.
Ever since, the intersection has functioned as a four-way stop, with nothing but a blinking red light to alert drivers to be mindful of the right-of-way before proceeding.
But as of Monday, May 3, the flashing red traffic light is no more, as a work crew successfully installed a newly-made custom mast and traffic signal at the intersection of Main Street and West Washington Street.
“Thanks to the Georgia Department of Transportation and Moyle Electric, the traffic pole, mast and lights were installed today,” said the Madison Police Department. “It has been four-plus months that the intersection has been treated as a four-way-stop. Thank you all for being diligent and safe as you traveled through the area.”
According to the Madison Police Department, despite the safety hazard caused by the broken traffic light at the intersection, there have not been any car accidents at the site in the last four months. Ironically, there were 16 traffic crashes at this intersection from January 1, 2020 through Dec. 23, 2020, before the traffic light was damaged in truck accident.
“There have been zero crashes over the last four-plus months that y’all have treated this intersection as a four-way-stop! Kudos to all!” said a press release from the Madison Police Department.
The only incident recorded at the intersection while the traffic light was down involved a 67-year-old female pedestrian being struck by a car while using the crosswalk. However, she did not sustain any serious injuries.
According to GDOT, the repairs took so long because a custom-made mast arm designed specifically for a signal light at the Main Street/West Washington intersection was needed to repair the traffic light. According to District Communication Specialist Kyle Collins, the mast arm, pedestrian head, two signal lights and wiring box were delivered to Madison and successfully installed. This kind of repair hasn’t been necessary in over 20 years and cost more than $20,000 to fix.
“There are two East Central Georgia locations with some bent mast arms due to collisions that still function. This intersection is the only one that was taken completely out. According to our signal leadership, this is the first time we’ve seen a mast arm taken down in over 20 years,” said Collins.
Collins said repair of the assembly would cost more than $20,000 and would be paid by either the truck driver or the insurance company covering the vehicle.
“This won’t be a taxpayer expense,” he said. “We typically do get the cash to come back to us.”