A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Signal at Crocker: There’s been a setback

Written January 22nd, 2021 by Hasso Hering

This photo of the still unsignaled Gibson Hill-Crocker junction is from Nov. 19, 2020.

For a long time residents in the new subdivisions off North Albany’s Crocker Lane have waited for a traffic signal at Gibson Hill Road to ease their commutes to town. Now it appears they’ll have to wait another month, or two.

The city’s contractor finished the construction of the signal’s infrastructure last fall. But because of Covid-caused problems in the supply chain, the city was told, the manufacturer had been unable to deliver the “signal controller cabinet.”

In November, when the last update on this project appeared here, the word was that the cabinet would be delivered in time for the signal to be activated in February.

The bad news came Friday in City Manager Peter Troedsson’s weekly report to the council:

“This week we were advised by the general contractor that the controller cabinet was received, but that it was damaged in shipping. The manufacturer is providing a replacement, but the project completion date has been pushed to the end of March. We’ll continue to check with the contractor, and are planning to have notification signs of a traffic change installed one week prior to signal activation.”

I’m not clear — and can’t at the moment find out — whether we’re talking here about a “cabinet” alone or the contents, which presumably are a bunch of complicated electronics. And are signal cabinets so rare that it takes weeks or months to get one? Where does this one come from anyway that the lead time is so great?

I hope to get those questions answered when I can reach someone.

In the meantime, Crocker Lane drivers are just going to have to be patient. And drivers on Gibson Hill have a few more weeks to enjoy not being stopped by a new signal on their way to town or home again.

This signal, by the way, is costing about $800,000. If the goal was to give Crocker Lane drivers a break, putting stop signs on Gibson Hill might have done the job for a couple thousand bucks. (hh)

9 responses to “Signal at Crocker: There’s been a setback”

  1. Bob S. says:

    Thanks for the reporting and update Hasso. Bob

  2. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    Traffic engineers are guided by the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways (https://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/).

    The manual is not mandatory, but I predict some local bureaucrat will insist that their hands are tied.

    Plus, it’s a lot more fun to spend about $800,000 than a mere couple of thousand. Government has lots of experience in wasteful spending.

    Your tax dollars at work.

  3. Eldon Garner says:

    Why not put in a temporary 4 way stop plan?

    • Bill Kapaun says:

      Maybe because it’s a T intersection?

    • Ean says:

      With the current COVID situation and the traffic being down I think what is there now is working. Admittedly I am biased because I never need to turn from Crocker onto Gibson Hill, but the queue is never that long when I go by in the morning, like it was pre COVID. A three way stop there would have been a disaster though in my opinion. Gibson Hill has a lot more traffic than Crocker.

  4. Michael quinn says:

    I can bet that the controller is on a shelf somewhere. I as a contractor get this all the time and I have asked who’s the distributor. And I usually go there and find out usually thru the back door that the product is there. Look stop acting like the typical sheepol. Albany traffic project technician could get something done. If it was in front of the city managers home it would get done

  5. centrist says:

    HH, I have no direct experience with traffic control cabinets. I’ll give a perspective of many years installing and troubleshooting electronic and electric systems. Shipping damage can be catastrophic to seemingly cosmetic. From the standpoint of reliability and safety, I prefer catastrophic, because the unit is unusable. Installing a unit with seemingly cosmetic damage is risky because there will be random faults that can’t be racked or solved.
    MQ, I found that berating a supplier is counterproductive. Worked alongside a difficult engineer. Every contractor who worked a project with that one added time and money for that difficulty. Those contractors flew thru their own sphincters to bring other work ontime, onbudget, worked correctly first time.

    • Mike quinn says:

      Do you really believe there is only one of these available

      • centrist says:

        Most engineers reserve “belief” for religion and philosophy. We tend to use knowledge and logic. What I know on this subject is on the scale of a BB in a boxcar. City Staff will have info. I’ll speculate.
        These control-units run unattended for years with no component failures. So, there’s likely no market that would entice the supply chain to hold one. That’s a waste of working capital.


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