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New Traffic Lights Criticized for Not Melting Snow

DELAWARE COUNTY (Tom Bosco/Kate Liebers) -- New traffic light technology could be to blame for recent crashes in Delaware County.

Snow and ice stuck to the signals Tuesday morning, a problem that seems to correlate with LED lights. The more energy-efficient system produces less heat and therefore melts less snow around it.

"These are now LED lights that were installed last year and this is the first winter we've had the lights installed," said Ohio State Highway Patrol Sgt. Robert Curry.

The snow-obscuring problem was made clear Tuesday, after the first snow accumulation of the year. Two accidents at the intersection of US 23 and Greif Parkway resulted in damage to multiple vehicles.

The first crash was apparently the result of a driver who did not stop for a red light. OSHP troopers said snow and ice trapped in the housing prevented the driver from seeing the signal.

Curry said snow-covered traffic lights caused five crashes throughout the day in Delaware County alone.

In the south side of Columbus, ABC 6 cameras caught near-misses at the intersection of High and Rathmel, where signals were covered in snow.

Snowy signals were also reported in Hilliard.

An Ohio Department of Transportation spokesperson said complaints about snow-covered signals are rare, but acknowledged this possibility.

Delaware County Engineer's Office reported the county has been using LEDs for years without complaints until Tuesday.

The county's crews sprayed signals with de-icers in response to the complaints.

Troopers reminded drivers that it is their responsibility to stop, regardless of the weather.

"If you can't clearly see if you have a red light or a green light, you treat it as a four-way stop," Curry said.

 
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