AUSTIN (KXAN) — Along Menchaca Road, at intersections without working traffic lights, multiple drivers swerved to miss each other as horns honked loudly. Several drivers appeared uncertain what to do — some blowing through the intersection without ever stopping.
One motorist waiting for her turn to cross shouted out her window to a KXAN reporter that her power has been out for three days.
At least 104 traffic signals are flashing or dark “due to power outages” as of 3:30 p.m. Friday — up from 27 reported hours earlier — Austin Transportation Department spokesman Jack Flagler said. Nearly 500 traffic lights are “out of communication,” Flagler said — meaning ATD field crews have to physically check to see what’s wrong.
“ATD crews will continue work in the field until signals are fully operational,” said Flagler. “Drivers should treat dark or flashing signals as a four-way stop.”
Since Monday, 151 traffic signals have been reset, Flagler said. Earlier, ATD tweeted its crews are working 24 hours a day to restore power.
Emergency officials are also reminding everyone to go slow. Since Monday, Austin-Travis County EMS said it responded to at least 100 weather-related crashes — the “vast majority” lately due to darkened intersections.
“[T]he vast majority of the collisions that we are currently responding to are a result of signals being out,” said ATCEMS, “especially when it gets dark.”
Austin police said there is no record of officers being deployed to direct traffic.
“We do not have any record of increased accidents due to the traffic lights being out,” an APD spokesperson said, “or officers deployed to those intersections to direct traffic.”
You can report traffic lights that are out by calling 311 or (512) 974-2000. You can also fill out a form online or on your Austin 311 mobile app.