Power surge sparks traffic light outage

An unexplained power surge was blamed for a black-out of some traffic lights in Grand Cayman which occurred either late Tuesday night, 3 April, or early the next day.

‘Many traffic signals had a problem because of the power surge,’ said Peter Ogden with the National Roads Authority

Bobby Thompson Way and Smith Road

Traffic lights were out for the majority of the day at Bobby Thompson Way and Smith Road in George Town.
Photo: Brent Fuller

A representative of the Caribbean Utilities Company reported the lights were out at Smith Road and Bobby Thompson Way around 9:30pm Tuesday.

CUC spokesperson Caren Thompson said the company experienced a power outage for customers east of the Old Crewe Road area around 7pm on 3 April due to a pole fire. But she said that had been repaired by 8:15pm.

NRA engineer Brian Chin-Yee said whatever caused the surge damaged a traffic signal cabinet on a power pole in the Smith Road and Bobby Thompson Way area.

He said the only lengthy traffic light outage occurred at that location.

By 11am on 4 April the lights at the intersection were still out in all directions, along with the crossing signals. Cars were taking turns driving through the intersection, and no major traffic backups had occurred.

Some complaints about the light were made to the Caymanian Compass and eventually caution signs were placed around the intersection, but police officers were never dispatched to the location.

‘Having an officer on scene wasn’t necessary on this occasion,’ said Deborah Denis with the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service. ‘If the problem was causing major tie ups, we’d send someone to direct traffic.’

Mr. Chin-Yee said the light at Bobby Thompson and Smith Road was repaired by 3pm on 4 April.

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