Malfunctioning traffic signals at the intersection of West Harvard Avenue and Southwest Bellows Street, which serves the southbound Interstate 5 ramps at Exit 124 in Roseburg, resulted in a four-way stop for most of the afternoon, causing congestion and delays for motorists.
A spokesman with the Oregon Department of Transportation said the traffic light went out at approximately 2 p.m. after contractors in the area severed the line accidentally while saw cutting the sidewalk.
“But our electrician wants to stress that it wasn’t their fault,” said Dan Latham of ODOT. “These conduits and wires are usually buried 18 inches to 2 feet below the surface, but (the cut wires) were only about 6 inches deep.”
Latham said the traffic light in the area is about 30 years old, which could explain why the wires weren’t buried deeper underground. The age of the intersection also explains why the contractors were making repairs to the sidewalk, which did not meet requirements set by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Around 100 feet of new wire had to be replaced, reconnected to the light, and buried at the appropriate depth, which took crews about four hours to complete. The light was again operational by 6:30 p.m.