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Improvements to Wilmington traffic signals begin soon

The next phase of improvements to Wilmington traffic signals will soon be underway. The Department of Transportation just hired a Florida contractor to upgrade the city's traffic signal system for $1.5 million. This company will focus on traffic lights in downtown Wilmington, and in the Eastwood Road and Military Cutoff areas. Another contractor has already been paid to begin work on lights in Wilmington between 3rd Street and College Road. The upgrades are expected to be completed by January of 2011, and are supposed to help traffic flow more efficiently, so you don't have to spend so much time stuck at red lights.

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Problems with lights

I don't live in New Hanover - I live in Brunswick but I do come up to Wilmington for doctor's appointments and other things. One thing that I have noticed in Wilmington and here in Brunswick County, along with many other places, is that it is not necessarily a light problem, as it is a driver problem. In many cases, there are blatant disregards for the lights. I have seen numerous instances of red lights being run when the car could have stopped but didn't. That in most cases is more of self importance than anything else. People are in a hurry to get somewhere and they feel they have the right of way. As for those of you complaining about people not moving when a light turns green, for most it is a safety issue. Too many times I have seen someone jump the light when it turns green and watch some knothead go barreling through the light and just miss an accident. When the light turns green, take a moment and look, and then proceed. It could save your life. Also, another pet peeve - people, just remember, right on red is not a gimmee! NC law states that you still come to a full stop and then turn right on red if it is clear to do so. I have had so many people turn right on red, without even slowing down, and pull out in front of me or someone else. If you are responsible enough to drive (and that is questionable in alot of cases), then be responsible enough to obey ALL LAWS! Your life and mine depends on it.

Lights in Wilmington

First off, all of the traffic lights in Wilmington that are on state maintained roads within the city limits are owned by NCDOT. NCDOT pays the City to repair and maintain these lights. The City has their own traffic signal people, with a full line of bucket trucks, engineers and technicians to do the work, they simply choose not to. NCDOT's traffic signal people simply don't have the manpower available, since NCDOT laid off all of their temporary employees (which they heavily rely on for manpower) effective January 9 2009. These contracting companies are hired to do a complete revamping of the signal system. They install completely new control equipment, new lights, and pavement sensors, new poles, etc...whatever needs to be done to "upgrade" an intersection. I agree about people just sitting there when the light turns green. The same thing happens in Jacksonville. 3 or 4 cars get thru on a green arrow. Everyone is in a big hurry to get to the light, but they sit there when it is their turn. Its really simple...when your light turns green, **quickly** look in all directions to make sure no one is "crashing" the light and then go. This should take a decent and well experienced driver less than 1/2 of a second to complete. I used to maintain alot of these signals in Wilmington. Some of them definitely do need upgrading as some of the control equipment on them is well over 25 years old. New controllers are around 3 to 4 thousand, each new light costs around 300.00 and the pavement sensors are around 1500.00 each...a lot of money getting ready to be spent here on these two projects.....

Traffic Lights

Can I ask a question?What do our traffic engineering do??Why do we have to double pay for some that our local staff should be able to do?It seems to me like everytime something happens our city manager wants to hire a contractor to do his peoples job.Why not hire our own people that know what they are doing.I sure it would be better than paying 1.5 to some company that don't anything about our city to begin with. Or maybe look for a city Manager that knows how to get his people to do their job.

Traffic lights

We moved here from Atlanta about four years ago and I noticed the traffic light issue right away. Atlanta has the country's worst traffic, but the lights work great. Here's why... an intersection simply needs to set to let the two opposing left turn lanes go through first. Then the rest of the folks traveling straight through go next. This works because there are always less people turning left and then the straight through crowd can keep moving through longer. Once this is in place, then you time the lights on a given stretch (say College Road) so that when the light at one point turns yellow the light just down from it turns yellow a minute or so later and so and so on. This keeps things moving. It's not brain surgery people!! Hey, city planners, I'll do it for 1.25!

People Don't Know How To Drive

The problem in Wilmington is not traffic. It's people that don't know how to drive. At left turn lanes when light turns green the majority of people look like deer in the headlights. When they do finally start to move it's one-at-a-time. I lived in Pittsburgh I would say about four times more cars would get through a turn light than they do here. So what you get is a long line of cars backed up at the light. When the light turns maybe four or five cars will go just because they are so slow. People in this town just don't understand turn lanes, or acceleration and de-acceleration lanes. If you're driving down Market St and you are going to make a left turn, get fully into the middle lane. Don't half-a$$ it and continue to impede traffic behind you. The NC driver's test is basically to have an understanding of road signs. The only problem with that is, no one here reads signs. Wilmington's basic traffic problem is just cars backed up at red lights. When the light turns green, MOVE and each successive person MOVE! I want Wilmington to require drivers to install wind sails on their cars cause I think they would move quicker, because they sure can't step on the gas.

This isnt unique...

I've lived all over the country, in large cities and small towns. I've found one thing to be constant. Everyone thinks their city has the worst drivers. :D Frankly, even with all of the current traffic flow problems, I generally find Wilmington drivers to be some of the most polite I've encountered.

I have lived in Denver,

I have lived in Denver, Miami, and Northern NJ....and driving thru Charlotte, Pittsburgh and NY. The worst drivers I have come across are right here in Wilmington.

It's always funny that each transplant thinks he or she is the

only person who has moved here and that every other driver in traffic was born and raised here. Take a look at the numbers genius: As of 2006, nearly half of New Hanover County was born in other states. I started driving here during the 80s and we didn't have the problems then that we do now. People didn't manically crisscross three lanes of traffic in order to run a red light so that the cars who didn't make the light can be behind them at the next one. Also, check the demographics of Wilmington. Old people are retiring here and young people are moving here to go to school. The problem in Wilmington these days is that people who are moving here are learning how to drive and forgetting how at the same time. For that matter, a lot of the older drivers spent their lives using public transportation so it's like a bunch of gray haired, 16 year old know it alls on our roads. Also, apparently, your fellow Pittsburgh drivers don't think it's such a driver's Utopia up there. Check out the rants and raves about driving on "The Burgh" on Craigslist: There were tons of other threads about the poor drivers in Pittsburgh but they contained language that I'm sure would make certain that this post wouldn't see the light of day if I pasted them in but search for them on the Pittsburgh Craigslist for yourself by using terms such as traffic, signals, driver, driving, etc. What was so funny about that particular thread was that one Pittsburgh driver attempted to school the others on the use of turn signals and didn't even know which side of the steering wheel the signal is located! LOL!


Drivers making a left hand turn at a traffic light will keep a distance of 75 to 100 feet distance from the car in front of them. But on the road doing 55 MPH they will get within 10 feet of the car in front of them.

traffic lights

If Atlanta flows, then why don't we hire THAT outfit to fix Wilmington? If our local and state governments would quit taking the lowest bidder, they might actually receive QUALITY service. WOW! What a concept! Let's hire someone who has proof that they know what they are doing. DUH!

What does $1.5 Million purchase?

"The Department of Transportation just hired a Florida contractor to upgrade the city's traffic signal system for $1.5 million. This company will focus on traffic lights in downtown Wilmington, and in the Eastwood Road and Military Cutoff areas." >Let's hope they decide not to add MORE lights!

Traffic Lights

Perhaps Leland could hire this firm to fix the traffic lights on HWY17 through town. It is a total disaster. Even at 5am, the lights are still on a timer and not "tripped" when a car pulls up. TYPICAL Leland.