Tuesday, February 14, 2017 - Updated: 10:34 AM
It's easy to overlook, but a spot in the road about the size of a coffee cup has created concerns at the intersection of U.S. Hwy. 62 and State Route 93 in Eddyville.
Jordan Yates, county highway superintendent, and Lt. Jaime Green, Eddyville Police, said they've received calls of concern in recent weeks about traffic lights not working properly at the intersection.
"The lights work off a sensor," Green said. "If you haven't pulled up far enough, it's not going to activate it."
Sensors built into the blacktop are connected to a corresponding traffic signal. For motorists turning left from U.S. Hwy. 62 onto State Route 93, their sensors are located down the center of the turn lane. There are three sensors for the turn lane, each about 10 feet apart. The first is located just behind the white solid stop line.
"The first [sensor] is the lead one," Yates said. "It's not going to work if they're sitting back. The other two hold the light open longer. The front vehicles are the key, stopping right at that stop bar. Technically, the tires of your car shouldn't go over those stop bars."
Yates said even if a vehicle is idling above the back two sensors — also called "pucks" —the light won't change until the first one is tripped.
"I get calls all the time that they're not working, but I drive up here and it's working fine," Yates said. "I had the traffic crew out of the [Kentucky Transportation Cabinet District 1 office] come out and check each puck with a laptop. Everything was good."
Yates said he didn't know why the sensors aren't designed to be more visible. The sensors are covered with a special coating to protect them from traffic, wet weather and snow plows.
State engineers periodically check the sensors to make sure everything is operating normally.
Yates said the intersection is designed to keep U.S. Hwy. 62 traffic flowing unless someone coming from or turning onto State Route 93 or Fairview Avenue activates a sensor.
Green said she normally receives calls of concerns about motorists turning right from State Route 93 onto U.S. Hwy. 62, or crossing the four lane onto Fairview. If a car doesn't fully stop over the sensor, it won't activate the light. Likewise, if the sensor is activated while the traffic signal is yellow, motorists will have to wait until the signal in the opposite lane is tripped.
"At 6 a.m. in the morning — when I'm coming to work — there's nobody activating the light," Green said. "But I make sure to pull up to the white line."
Green said it was important for motorists to phone in if there are concerns, but is encouraging callers to pull up to the white line.