Since You Asked: Why Isn’t the Traffic Light Work on Wisconsin Avenue Complete?

Questions and answers about the Bethesda area


New traffic lights, inside bags, create visual clutter that makes it difficult to see the signals at the still-working older lights. The lights are part of a State Highway Administration project at several Wisconsin Avenue intersections.

Douglas Tallman

I’m wondering when all the traffic signals at Wisconsin Avenue and Elm/Waverly Street will be replaced. There have been two sets of traffic lights on numerous corners for a long time now. Sometimes, the horizontal poles of the inoperable lights block the working traffic lights behind them. And some of the crosswalk signals and buttons are doubled up and don't work.

—A reader in Bethesda

The work at the intersection is part of a series of intersection improvements that the Maryland State Highway Administration is doing along Wisconsin Avenue (Md. 355), which falls under state control. Other intersections that have been improved were at Old Georgetown Road; at Elm, Stanford and Leland streets; and at Bethesda Avenue/Willow Lane, SHA spokesman David Buck said.

The final intersection that is part of the project is at Wisconsin Avenue and Elm/Waverly Streets, he said.

The work is waiting for a time when a special Pepco crew, which handles underground wiring, can meet with Maryland State Police, workers from Montgomery County and SHA, he said. That meeting will take place in the next couple of weeks, he said.

He said an SHA employee would check out the intersection Wednesday. If any of the bagged lights — that is, any of the newly installed lights — is blocking the view of any of the still functional older lights, it will be removed.

“We’ll put the signal back up when it’s energized,” Buck said.

Generally, the final portion of the work will be done at night because of the traffic on the busy thoroughfare, he said.

“It’s never a great time to ever do it on 355, but we do look at the traffic impacts when we do this,” he said.

Motorists should expect the intersection to be closed for a couple of hours while the work is being completed, Buck said.

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