Engineers work on the traffic lights in Brattleboro, in the summer of 2011. (Zachary P. Stephens/Reformer file photo)
Engineers work on the traffic lights in Brattleboro, in the summer of 2011. (Zachary P. Stephens/Reformer file photo)
Tuesday January 8, 2013

BRATTLEBORO -- Folks driving through lower Main Street, or Malfunction Junction as it is known to many, will have to be patient just a little longer. The lights have been set to flashing red due to a computer glitch, said Steve Barrett, director of Brattleboro's Department of Public Works.

"It's been skipping cycles," he said, leaving some drivers waiting for a green light for three cycles or more.

The company that installed the traffic control system, Moulison North Corporation, is expected to be on the scene today, troubleshooting the system, said Barrett.

"We've had a few bugs in the system since it was installed last year."

Unfortunately, he said, there's only so much his department can do to ameliorate the situation.

"We normally check the traffic light controllers and sometime are able to reset or reboot the computer so the lights go back to normal," said Barrett, but when he and Fire Alarm Superintendent Joe Newton attempted to do so, they were unsuccessful. "We do everything we can at our level, but the traffic control guys have to come over from New Hampshire and sometimes reboot the computer."

He said he hopes the glitch is resolved sometime this week, and reminded people they have to come to a complete stop before proceeding into the junction.

The problem came to the town's attention after it received calls that the traffic lights at lower Main Street were skipping cycles and not changing to green for Routes 119 and 142.


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"The lights are computer operated and experience glitches at times," said Barrett. "The traffic lights also use a two-way radio system to communicate between the control boxes at lower Main, Flat, Elliot and High streets, which can also require reprogramming."

Malfunction Junction, or lower Main Street, as the town prefers to call it, consists of the intersection of Routes 119 and 142, Canal and Main streets and the access to the Brattleboro Food Co-op.

Bob Audette can be reached at raudette@reformer.com, or at 802-254-2311, ext. 160. Follow Bob on Twitter @audette.reformer.