WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – The City of Wilmington is no stranger to long lines of traffic. Drivers are constantly complaining about long lines and increased wait times on our local roadways, but there's one particular intersection that is causing a lot of road rage recently.
City officials recently extended the traffic light cycle timing at the intersection of Military Cutoff Road and Eastwood Road. Instead of the normal 2.5 minutes, the light cycle there is five minutes.
The light cycle was recently changed in November to accommodate holiday shoppers around Mayfaire. Now that the weather is getting nicer, more drivers are out and about, according to Denys Vielkanowitz, a traffic engineer with the City of Wilmington.
Vielkanowitz says that many people complain about that particular intersection, but that's normal when two major roadways intersect.
"The challenge comes in when we get to Military Cutoff and Eastwood Road, when we get surges in traffic at any part of the day," Vielkanowitz said. "You can't predict it. So when it's a nice day and people are going to the beach, the traffic signals cannot process the major increase in vehicles."
Drivers said the wait times seem endless.
"It works on your patience," David Duncan, a Wilmington commuter said. "When you have places to go and people to see. It seems like you spend your whole life waiting."
Another driver, Jack Preston, expressed his aggravation with the light, "It gets frustrating because of all the time spent out here." Preston continued, "I work all day, so at the end of the day, I want to go where I need to go."
Vielkanowitz explained that the city has weekend plans that attempt to accommodate the typical traffic patterns expected. He said it's impossible to plan for unexpected spikes in traffic, which makes it difficult to determine the timing of traffic light cycles.
Vielkanowitz explained that while traffic is very busy at this particular intersection, there are other intersections that also require attention.
Every 18 months, the city reviews the timings at all 212 traffic signals throughout town and look for opportunities to make improvements. This is a process that forces them to analyze, make changes if necessary, verify changes are working as designed, and then swiftly move to the next area.
The traffic signals are programmed to work together in a coordinated manner in an attempt to progress vehicles through multiple intersections in a row so that delay is minimized along a particular roadway.
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