cold weather
2:25 pm
Wed February 2, 2011

Cold Weather Could Slow Afternoon Traffic

Cold weather and power outages could snarl rush hour traffic this afternoon.  Some intersections, like the one at 6th and Lamar, were backed up for blocks because traffic lights went out.  City official recommend driving with caution.

"They're going to come across some signals that are dark," City of Austin Public Works spokesperson Sarah Hartley told KUT News. "Maneuver them the same way they would a four way stop sign. It's going to be just like your good old traffic education that you learned when you got your license. If it's a four-way stop, the people on your right are the first to go and just alternating turns."

As the power gets restored in each intersection, the stoplight initially flashes red before returning to its normal light cycle.

The City of Austin's Transportation Department wants to install backup energy converters in about half of the city's traffic lights, in the event of another massive power outage.

“What we’re looking at is some uninterruptible power supply units," City of Austin Transportation Department spokesperson Karla Villalon told KUT News. "We will attach those units to about 400 to 500 signal light intersections throughout the city."

Villalon said the backup generators would cost the city about $1.6 million. That does not include labor costs associated with installation. She expects City Council to vote on that purchase on March 3.