Hurricane Ian caused extensive damage to traffic signals across Lee County, leaving drivers frustrated and causing road congestion.
According to reports, 400 out of 447 signals were damaged during the storm, leaving many without functional detection systems at intersections.
As a result, drivers are experiencing long waits at stoplights, with some claiming it feels like they’re waiting for 10 minutes only for the light to change for 10 seconds before turning red again.
“It wouldn’t surprise me that some of these older people like myself may even die sitting at a stop light,” said Terry Hook, a snowbird from Indiana.
Repair crews have been working diligently since the storm to fix the traffic lights, but progress has been slow due to the significant damage caused.
“If we went out there right now and just started throwing devices back up, you know we wouldn’t be reimbursed for those devices,” said Rob Price, deputy director of Lee County DOT. “And we’re talking about a magnitude of $15 [million] to $20 million dollars worth of damage to our signal system.”
The repairs required include signal cabinets, which are the brains of the intersection. At least 40 of these were damaged during Hurricane Ian, and, according to Price, they’re “ticking time bombs.” The saltwater on the wiring can corrode it, and without authorization from the federal government to replace the cabinets, they’ll have to wait for them to stop functioning.
Moreover, any signal that’s damaged less than $5,000 don’t get federal assistance, so the repairs of 142 lights are being covered by local money. Price mentioned that Lee County is halfway through repairing the traffic lights. However, it’s still a long way to go.
Meanwhile, drivers in Lee County are advised to exercise patience and caution while navigating roads with malfunctioning traffic lights.