What's wrong with this picture?

March 06, 2011
  • Power lines obscure the view of traffic signals at the intersection of South Potomac Street and Oak Ridge Drive in Hagerstown.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

The problem: Power lines at the intersection of South Potomac Street and Oak Ridge Drive in Hagerstown obscure traffic signals.

Heading east toward Funkstown, large, thick wires hang in front of the signals facing west on Oak Ridge Drive.

“It makes trying to see the traffic lights very difficult at times, especially when the wind is blowing,” a reader said in an e-mail. “The cables and wires need to be raised or the traffic signals need to be raised.”

Who could fix it: Maryland State Highway Administration.

What they say: SHA district traffic officials are aware of the wires hanging across their signals at the intersection, but the issue in Hagerstown has not been deemed a critical threat to safely, SHA spokesman Charlie Gischlar said.

“If you move an inch in either direction, you can see again,” he said.

Visibility of the signal is only blocked for a split second, he said.

Traffic signals blocked by wires, similar to the situation on Oak Ridge Drive, are a problem the SHA has seen in other Maryland communities, he said.

Gischlar said he would submit a request to the traffic-signal shop at the SHA Office of Traffic and Safety in Hanover, Md., to have the situation reviewed.

“We will go out and review this, and contact the utility companies to see if something can be done,” he said.

There is a possibility that heavy January snow and recent wind caused the wires to sag lower than normal, he said.

Raising poles and wires can be very expensive, he said.
— Compiled by Kate S. Alexander 
If you are aware of a safety problem, a major annoyance or a pet peeve that one of our governmental bodies, an agency or an organization is responsible for fixing, send the information, and a photo if you have it, to:
What's Wrong With This Picture
c/o The Herald-Mail newsroom
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Hagerstown MD 21740
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Editor’s note: Each Monday, The Herald-Mail will highlight an infrastructure issue or other problem and will try to find out what is being done to fix or improve the situation.
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