Melbourne traffic signals upgraded to be more hurricane resilient

By Caitlin Wilson, Reporter
Last Updated: Tuesday, November 14, 2017, 5:22 PM EST

Traffic can be frustrating enough on a daily commute, but it’s much worse the days following a hurricane.

  • Melbourne to improve traffic signals to endure hurricanes
  • 38 intersections during Irma with wire signals sustained damage
  • City has seven active projects to upgrade signals  

A Brevard County city is ensuring that traffic flow and intersections get back up and running quicker after a major storm.

“After a hurricane everyone is trying to figure out what’s up and where they’re going and traffic flow is always backed up,” said longtime Melbourne resident Richard Newman, who’s weathered multiple storms. “We’ve been here almost 30 years now through all the hurricanes, and that’s one of the biggest issues trying to figure out where to go and how to get there.”

The city has been making improvements to their intersections over the past few years, upgrading their traffic signals in the city to use mast arms — a strong metal pole bolted to the ground, a much more resilient structure during and after a storm.

“With these masts and arms we’ll have less repairs and less damage, the benefit having these and not have lines and signals down means we don’t need to use police to man these as a 4-way stop during or after the storm, and traffic can get back to normal much faster,” said City Engineer Jenni Lamb.

During Irma, 38 of Melbourne's intersections with wire signals did sustain damage according to the city, but no damage was found at any of the upgraded sites.

While it’s not a cheap project, with just one arm and mast costing between $300,000 to $400,000 — it’s one many citizens seem to appreciate.

“I’m glad the city is spending the money to do this, because when [traffic signals] fly off, they hit things, so this sounds really good,” resident Brian Arnold told us.

Right now the city has seven active projects to upgrade signals in the city.

Over the coming years the city says their goal is to spend time replacing the remaining wire signals at all their intersections.