A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Why Gibson Hill signals are still dark

Written November 19th, 2020 by Hasso Hering

There was only light traffic this morning at Crocker and Gibson Hill in North Albany.

There is a reason why the new traffic signals at Crocker Lane and Gibson Hill Road in North Albany aren’t working even though the installation looks finished. And you won’t be surprised that the blame, like for everything else, falls on Covid-19.

A reader, Nina Barry, sent me an email wondering why the long-awaited signals were not functioning even though they had been announced as being scheduled for completion by some time in October.

Chris Cerklewski is the engineer in Albany Public Works overseeing the $800,000 project to install the lights. It was he who explained the delay.

“Most of the work is done,” he wrote in an email, “except that we are waiting for the traffic signal controller cabinet to arrive. The manufacturer has pushed back the delivery date several times due to Covid-19 related delays in their supply chain. Since this cabinet controls the operation of the signal, work has been paused until it arrives.”

So how long is it going to take?

“At this point we are anticipating the signal being operational by the end of February 2021,” Chris continued. “In the meantime the contractor is working on getting the street lighting at the intersection wired up since the intersection is pretty dark at night. The lighting should be turned on by the end of this week.”

City plans originally had called for a roundabout at Crocker and Gibson Hill, a T-junction getting busier each year with new housing tracts being built. It was in May 2017 that the city council changed its mind and voted to install a set of signals instead. (hh)

8 responses to “Why Gibson Hill signals are still dark”

  1. Chris Nelson says:

    Thanks for looking into this Hasso. Those of us who have to try to make a left from Crittenden onto Gibson Hill have been wondering. Also hoping that there will be some big white lines and warnings to not block Crittenden when waiting for the Crocker light to turn.

    • Thomas Aaron says:

      People will most certainly block Crittenden and those of us who live off it will end up being the stuck cog bogging the whole operation down while waiting for the way to clear. Traffic still won’t move off of Crocker when that happens.The light just moved the focal point of the problem one house over, not a great fix.

      Should have stuck with the original roundabout plan.

      • Ray Kopczynski says:

        I totally agree. However, while the cost of the roundabout was higher, the majority of council was more afraid of condemning a small portion of the corner adjacent to the house you see in the picture to acquire the necessary land to build the roundabout. As such, they got cold feet and settled on the intersection option.

        My thinking then was that the city could have purchased the home, built the roundabout, and then resold the house. I felt removal of the minimal portion of the corner would not have hurt the property value — especially viewing the influx of folks wanting to live in NA…

        • Thomas Aaron says:

          Yup, that sounds about right. Council somehow became suddenly afraid to take the risk on an investment that would have been an easy win.

          They did not do the math. Money wasted. Time wasted. Major bummer.

    • Mittaline says:

      We were concerned about that too Chris, I’ll probably go the back way through Cascade Heights if I need to go down the hill…

  2. Richard Smith says:

    Thanks for the info! Glad we didn’t get another circle…people in Albany are not smart enough to use them safely, as evidenced by the dangers at the North Albany Road one.

  3. Andrea S says:

    Thanks for the update. I’m positive that a well-sized roundabout would have been a much better option, but of course we can’t change that now. My concern with the lights not being turned on until nearly March is that the current striping is really for the lights. It is awkward to stop behind the line far back on Crocker, not be able to see a thing, and have to pull way forward into the new intersection before being able to see well enough to turn left.

  4. Cathy Schlecht says:

    The nightmare will just be different. When the light turns green for Gibson Hill, and a person going north wants to take a left hand turn on either Crocker or Crittenden, the traffic will be stalled back to the fire station during busy times. They needed a left hand turn lane.


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