In April, the NC Department of Transportation hired a contractor to synchronize traffic lights on Market Street (US 70) through Downtown Smithfield. Since then, complaints have been mounting about increased wait times for drivers on side streets attempting to cross over Market.
The Town of Smithfield has now asked the NC Department of Transportation to review the timing of the traffic signals on Market Street after hearing a complaint from a concerned citizen and also expressing concerns of their own.
Sonny Howard told council members he crosses through the intersection of Second and Market Street several times each day. While traffic is flowing freely along Market Street, drivers attempted to cross Market often wait extended lengths of time before the light turns green.
Howard said he has timed the light on Second crossing Market and it takes as long as 1 minute 27 seconds before it turns green. Howard said he is forced to stop a block away for another red light at Second and Bridge Street.
When employees at the Johnston County Courthouse leave weekdays at 5PM cars line up on South Second waiting for the red light to turn green so they can turn onto Market Street, Howard said.
He said the problem exists at other intersections like Third, Fourth and Fifth Streets for drivers attempting to cross Market Street.Wednesday morning we timed the traffic light at Third and Market. Even with light traffic on Market Street, it took 80 seconds for the light to turn green for drivers on Third Street.
Howard said wait times are just as bad on weekends.
Mayor Andy Moore agreed with Howard, saying he has noticed extended wait times for drivers on Second trying to cross Market Street.
Town Manager Mike Scott asked the DOT to review the timing of the Market Street lights.
WTSB News and JoCoReport.com reached out to Russell Broadwell, Deputy Division Traffic Engineer with the NC Department of Transportation. Broadwell said the traffic signals on Market Street are synchronized with the goal of providing progression along Market Street. This is done by placing “holds” on side streets like Second Street.
Broadwell said the Market Street signalization system had new “timing plans” installed in April 2017. He said the system changes programming throughout the day. Broadwell said the DOT would investigate current complaints to see if the updated synchronization is operating as designed.