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Traffic lights on blink

May 09, 1997

By JENNYLYNN BROWN

Staff Writer

Drivers in downtown Hagerstown had to rely on their manners to travel on some streets after a traffic signal wiring problem disrupted many intersections Thursday night.

All traffic lights on Locust Street, Mulberry Street and East Avenue - and some on Baltimore and Antietam streets - were on the blink, said Dale Poffenberger, Street Department supervisor for the City of Hagerstown.

"The first call was for Locust Street, and it expanded to other streets," he said. "It was a signal problem. They all went on `flash.'"

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He said he was notified about the problem at 7 p.m.

He said it was expected the problem would be corrected before midnight.

"When you have more than one or two intersections to look at, it just takes time," Poffenberger said.

"Something interfered with the signal wiring. Through the process of elimination, we will eventually find the problem," he said.

The Hagerstown Police Department began getting calls at 5:30 p.m. about the light at Potomac and Antietam streets, and calls continued for the next half hour, police said.

Poffenberger said no one was sent to direct traffic. "There were too many tonight to be at each intersection. The traffic gets through the best way it can."

He said that the system, even when flashing, is able to create some order, but drivers have to yield and watch.

In most areas, the main street's light blinks amber, meaning proceed with caution, and the secondary street's light blinks red, meaning stop, then proceed with caution, he said.

Staff Writer Brendan Kirby contributed to this story.

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