You might notice some city maintenance crews installing new equipment at intersections across San Angelo. The Traffic Operations Department is working to place battery back-up systems at all intersections with traffic lights. It is hoped that the battery back-up system will make residents safer in the event of a power outage.

“When there is a power outage,” explains traffic operation superintendent Dustin Hohensee, “these systems will immediately take over and supply power to the signals so there’s no interruption. In the past without these battery backups the intersections would just go dark during a power outage.”  

City staff also said that prior to these battery systems, during a power outage maintenance staff would have to take generators out to the most trafficked intersections to at least keep those signals running. Occasionally, San Angelo police would assist, an operation that places city staff and police in danger. The department is aiming to have all installations done by Fall 2019.

“Phase one of this project we installed 42 battery back-ups and that brought our current total up to 70 traffic signals that have this system,” said Hohensee. “If phase 2 is funded, that would be an additional 49 signals to complete the project and get 100% of our traffic signals.”

This battery back-up project was inspired by a federal requirement a few years ago which mandated that battery back-ups be in place at railroad crossings which had signals. Seeing that having them at all intersections with signals would make staff safer and reduce the use of city vehicles, this project began. 

Full installation of one unit takes one to two hours, making fur units per day the usual average. As long as San Angelo city council approves funding for the rest of phase two, the project will be on track to receive their final funding in October, and complete installation before the end of December. 

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