AMHERST - It seems as though a truck driver may have done Amherst a favour when his rig clipped a traffic light in the downtown during last month's Four Fathers Festival.
Amherst's traffic authority, police chief Charlie Rushton, is studying traffic patterns in the area of the busted traffic light on the corner of Church and Albion streets to determine whether the light needs to be replaced.
"Right now we are reviewing whether there's a requirement to replace the traffic lights there," the chief said Thursday. "At first blush the traffic seems to be flowing well with just stop signs there."
Rushton said the study will look at things like how much traffic uses the intersection and it will also look at how maintaining stop signs there will impact other intersections in the area, such as Church and Prince Arthur and Church and Pleasant.
"From this study we'll make the determination as to whether the lights are needed and if we need to put them back in again," the chief said, adding he's working with the town's engineering department. "It's on our priority list, but it isn't at the top of that list because all indications are that it is working well. We want to give it enough time to assess it properly."
Originally, when the truck carrying wind turbine parts hit the traffic light in early July it was predicted it would take about two to three weeks to fix the light. Town crews, though, have noticed that since the light was taken out of commission and replaced with a three-way stop sign that traffic seems to be flowing smoother through the area than before.
That led the town's engineering department to ask the chief to look into leaving things as they are.
"There's no requirement now to sit and wait for a cycle of traffic lights to go through, but having said that for us to be able to assess how effective the stop signs are we need to consider things like any accidents that occur in that intersection," the chief said.
Rushton is not sure when the traffic lights were first installed at the intersection, saying it was before he joined the department 35 years ago.
The chief feels the installation of the lights may have been connected to the fact that prior to the construction of the Trans-Canada a half century ago, traffic travelling through the area to and from other parts of Nova Scotia used to go through the heart of the downtown.
"The Trans-Canada now bypasses Amherst and a lot of the traffic that used to flow through the town doesn't anymore," he said. "There may have been a requirement at that time for a traffic light at that location, but I don't know the history."