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Flashing lights to flash no more

Princeton stop light on the mend

PRINCETON — For several months, drivers at the intersection of Route 26 and Ace Road in Princeton have been met with flashing red lights instead of the usual stop lights. The storm that raged through the area Aug. 4 knocked out power throughout Princeton for an hour or two, but it was a lighting strike that took out the traffic lights.

But the lights won’t be flashing for much longer.

On Friday, Illinois Department of Transportation Community Relations Manager Julia Messina said IDOT expects to fix the traffic signal within the next two weeks.

“We are awaiting traffic detection materials to be shipped to the contractor,” Messina said.

Messina said a number of traffic signal heads will be replaced, and due to the extensive damage from the line strike, new wire has to be pulled. The new traffic signal cabinet is built and wired for the intersection and is in the hands of the contractor. A new street light will be installed to replace the one that was struck by the power outage.

“We feel that once the contractor starts on this job, it should be completed in two or three days,” she said.

Not everyone will be happy to see the stop lights replaced.

“The flow of traffic has been phenomenal,” said Princeton Police Chief Tom Root. “That’s really been the consensus of most people.”

Root said there have been no accidents at the intersection, and many people have commented on how smoothly and quickly traffic moves through the intersection.

Of course, not everyone has been pleased. Root said some people have expressed concerns because the flashing lights are too different from what they’re used to.

“They’re used to sitting and waiting for a green light,” he said.

Root said the city doesn’t own the lights and have had to rely on the state to take care of them. He said the repair is estimated to cost $30,000 to $40,000 to repair.

Princeton’s Superintendent of Electric Jason Bird said that due to the extent of the damage, the entire repair job is in the hands of the state and its contractor.

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