RR signals malfunction holds light red at Heid’s Corner

— On 11 different occasions from January through May 21, the railroad crossing signal in the village of Liverpool has malfunctioned causing the traffic light at Heid’s Corner to hold a steady red stop-signal against southbound traffic on Oswego Street.

The uninterrupted red light causes traffic to back up into the village and local police must step in to direct traffic.

While the problem has occurred at various times of the day and night, it is particularly troubling when it happens during morning and evening rush hours.

The steady red also affects northbound traffic from Old Liverpool Road and prevents vehicles heading north on Route 370 from making a right turn onto Old Liverpool Road.

Liverpool Police Chief Don Morris sent an email May 22 to crossing owner CSX, the Class 1 Railroad which runs freight trains up and down the East Coast.

“The railroad crossing… repeatedly malfunctions causing severe traffic issues that affect public safety,” Morris wrote. “I am requesting that CSX examine this crossing and determine why it is malfunctioning at this frequency.”

Morris himself responded to the scene during a recent evening rush hour. “It was ridiculous,” he said.

In his email to CSX, the chief pointed out that Heid’s Corner “is one of the busiest intersections in Onondaga County,” so the malfunctioning signal could lead to accidents and injuries.

According to recent traffic counts provided by the state Department of Transportation and the Syracuse Metropolitan Traffic Council, Old Liverpool Road at Railroad Street sees an average of 12,600 vehicles daily, some 27,400 pass over Route 370 every day and 20,915 vehicles drive through the Route 57-Oswego Street fork, a block northwest of Heid’s Corner.

“These malfunctions are creating a risk of injury to motorists, pedestrians and the police officers who are directing traffic due to the malfunctions,” Morris wrote. “This malfunction also impedes emergency response in this area.”

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