What is that, anyway?
Photo by Jay Gamel.
Recently, many have been noticing a new, highly visible, addition to the stoplights around here, especially those along Sonoma Highway.
The back plates of the signal heads now have yellow retro-reflective borders, which enhance the visibility of the traffic signals and improve the safety and operations of the traffic intersection, especially during power outages such as PG&E’s Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS).
The plates make the signals reflective and more noticeable during power outages, helping drivers understand that they should treat the intersection as a four-way stop during blackouts.
According to Bart Ney, Chief of Public Affairs for CalTrans’ District 4 (the Bay Area, including Sonoma County), all CalTrans districts throughout the state are implementing this visibility enhancement treatment.
District 4 began installing the borders in February and March of this year. Over 660 signalized intersections have been treated so far in the Bay Area.
District 4 has over 1,400 signals – about 1,000 of those are owned and operated by CalTrans, with the remaining signals’ operation delegated to local agencies.
“CalTrans intends to install the retro-reflective borders at all signals in the district to have consistency and to minimize confusion for drivers,” said Ney. “We are currently in the process of developing the contracts to complete the installations at the remaining signals throughout the district.”
District 4 has also been installing “Signal Ahead” pavement markings and signs at high speed intersection approaches.