Clifton Park expanding switches for traffic light outages


If there happens to be power outages at major intersections in Clifton Park, turning the traffic lights back on will be as easy as plugging in a portable generator and flipping a switch.

“The intersection will be controlled by that generator as long as the power is off,” explained Dahn Bull, Clifton Park Highway Superintendent. “These specialized switches make sure there are no power surges as well and we won’t be damaging any of the equipment we have.”

There are currently 18 switches throughout the town, with 10 more just approved to be installed. As soon as the power goes out, crews from public safety or the highway department will come out to install a generator at the specific location.

Clifton Park officials noticed that when power outages happen, drivers aren’t treating intersections as a 4- way stops which causes dangerous situations.

“When that traffic light is not working any longer, it can be confusing and unsafe for motorists,” explained Phil Barrett, Clifton Park’s Town Supervisor. “So ensuring that that traffic light continues to work even when there is no power to the site, is an incredible public safety measure.”

A safety measure that has proven to be effective.

“We are always assessing new sites that we can apply these switches,” said Barrett.

The town is hoping to one day expand this technology to all intersections in Clifton Park.

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