Traffic lights to stay red for longer

Traffic lights to stay on red for longer
Traffic lights to stay on red for longer

WIGAN’S traffic lights could soon be stuck on red for longer to give its ageing population more time to cross the road.

Under controversial plans from transport chiefs, crossing times are being reviewed across the borough over concerns that some pedestrians don’t have long enough.

Under the plans being discussed by Government ministers and Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) traditional pelican crossings, which display a flashing green man on a traffic light on the opposite side of the road are due be phased out over the next 12 months.

They will be replaced by puffin crossings with sensors that extend the crossing time for any stragglers crossing the road.

A TfGM spokesman said: “Greater Manchester is already leading the way with responsive puffin-style crossings, which have been the only type of signalised crossing installed since 1998.

“Since then we have completed a programme to convert the majority of old-style pelican crossings to puffins and we have 673 more than anywhere else in the UK.

“At signalised junctions with pedestrian facilities, Greater Manchester follows the standard Department for Transport guidance of 1.2 metres per second walking speed.

“If a longer crossing time is required we do review this on an individual basis along with local authority engineers.

“We’re aware of the ministerial proposals and will follow developments with interest. If the guidance from the DfT changed to assume a lower speed then we would change all our crossing speeds accordingly.”

Wigan Council said that as discussions were ongoing with the DfT, it is not in a position to comment on the matter at this time.

The news comes as it was revealed that damage to traffic lights across Greater Manchester cost the taxpayer a staggering £277,611 last year.

The huge bill was caused by drivers crashing into the lights, damage by workmen and maintenance costs.

Motorists hitting lights cost £293,000, but a quarter of that was paid back through insurers, leaving the cost to the taxpayer at £219,750.

Damage caused by developers and utility workers cost £278,000, but £222,400 was paid back by firms, so the cost to the taxpayer was £55,600.

Traffic signal maintenance cost £2,261.

Next year’s predicted costs, after reimbursements, are £190,500 for crashes, £50,600 for building work and £2,807 for traffic signal maintenance.

A Transport for Greater Manchester spokesman said the problem of accidental and reckless damage was a drain on resources.

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