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New traffic light to be implemented at 'dangerous intersection' in Aurelius

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AURELIUS — A new three-color traffic light will be activated next week at an intersection in Aurelius that has been the site of several traffic accidents over the years.

An electronic message board by the intersection of Routes 5 and 20 and Half Acre Road says a new three-color signal will be activated at that spot on Tuesday, Sept. 27. Currently at that corner, the lights flash red north to south and yellow east to west.

Curtis Jetter, public information officer for Region 3 of the New York State Department of Transportation, talked about the new traffic light in an emailed statement to The Citizen on Tuesday, saying safety is always the department's top priority. 

"The signal was installed by DOT maintenance crews in June as part of their day-to-day operations and will be activated later this month upon completion of additional preparatory work," Jetter said. "Until that time, it will remain in flashing mode."

In a post on the Aurelius Volunteer Fire Department's Facebook page, the department told drivers, "be sure to approach the intersection cautiously, as you may have to stop!"

David Perkins, chief of the fire department, told The Citizen Tuesday that he learned about the new light when he saw the message board, as the DOT did not reach out to the fire department. He said that area is a "dangerous intersection, and in years past, it's been a deadly intersection."

"There's been numerous accidents there. I can't tell you how many over the years, but it's been an area and intersection for frequent accidents," Perkins said. 

Depending on which direction traffic is stopped, "traffic is now going to be stopped more at that intersection for a given period of time," he added.

"People aren't used to that, they're used to traffic flowing at or above the state speed limit through there, so I think there's going to be some challenges with that," Perkins said. 

Nevertheless, the chief said he is "cautiously optimistic" the new signal will make that spot safer for the fire department and the general public. 

"We don't want to see more traffic accidents. We want to see people (get around in) the town of Aurelius to their work and school and their shopping activities, we want to see people be able to move through the town as safely as possible, and I'm hopeful that traffic light may help with that." 

This is not the first time there have been changes at that intersection due to safety concerns. Reconstruction of the intersection started in 2009 in an attempt to improve site lines and traffic flow to make it safer following a DOT analysis of the intersection's accident history. At the time, some town officials and property owners expressed concern that the redesign would make problems worse.

Staff writer Kelly Rocheleau can be reached at (315) 282-2243 or Follow him on Twitter @KellyRocheleau.


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Education and City Reporter

Hello, my name is Kelly Rocheleau, and I cover the education and city beats for The Citizen and I've been writing for the paper since December 2016.

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