Some stoplights remain without power

Sun Staff

As of last night, Baltimore officials reported 42 traffic lights remained without power.

Since Friday, traffic officers have been directing traffic at major intersections that lacked power for their traffic signals from 9 a.m. until sundown.

And it's a good thing.

If traffic officers weren't filling in for the powerless stoplights at Harford Road and Echodale Avenue, people would "definitely ... fly through [and] not give no right of way, no courtesy," said Department of Transportation officer Barbara Sampson, watching a colleague guide cars through the intersection yesterday.

At Harford and Echodale, Sampson said, people have been respectful of the officers, presumably because the lights were out and they wanted to protect their vehicles. But she said at other intersections without officers, people were tapping their brakes and flying through, especially from side streets.

This morning brings the challenge of rush-hour traffic.

"We are very concerned about safety," said Adrienne D. Barnes, department spokeswoman.

Although Barnes wasn't aware of any accidents at downed signals, the department was planning to work with Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. throughout the night to get as many lights as possible up and running.

Barnes said that traffic officers will be at critical downtown intersections that do not have their power restored by rush hour. Provisional stop signs will be placed on other, secondary streets.

According to Maryland law, motorists who come to an intersection with a nonfunctioning traffic signal are required to treat the intersection as a four-way stop. That means coming to a full stop, giving the right of way to the person arriving first and then moving on in order of appearance through the intersection.

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