Spiders make the task of stringing line look easy, but replacing the web of wires holding up traffic signals at a complex intersection is anything but.
Crews from the Seattle Department of Transportation are installing new equipment at the busy five-way intersection where NE 45th Street meets Sandpoint Way NE near University Village. The wires supporting the traffic signals and the poles at this location were pulling in toward the center of the intersection, causing them to droop more and more because of their old design. This spring a truck hit one of the wires causing further damage and accelerating the need to rebuild the system.
This location is especially challenging because of the high volume of traffic and because signal lights need to be provided for all five streets meeting at this intersection: Northeast 45th Street, Northeast 45th Place, Sandpoint Way Northeast, Union Bay Place Northeast and Mary Gates Memorial Drive Northeast. There are a total of 15 signal heads compared to the usual 8 to 12 at most intersections.
The work will require only intermittent lane closures during the next two weeks. Crews will be reaching over lanes with bucket trucks, working mostly between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. with some work at night.
When the project is finished, estimated by the end of August, the new equipment will improve safety. The wires will be strung in a better configuration and the position of the signal lights will shift from their current locations, but the operation of the intersection will not change.