NEW ORLEANS — It would seem like an easy thing to fix after a hurricane, but there are still dozens of traffic lights out and it turns out it can be pretty complicated and expensive to repair some of them.
The Department of Public Works told Eyewitness news that New Orleans traffic signals are designed to handle wind gusts up to 90 MPH.
In the downtown area, Ida's wind gusts reached 95 MPH.
Of 463 traffic lights in New Orleans, 255 were damaged by Hurricane Ida.
So far, 115 have been repaired, but a total of 140 stoplights still need to be repaired. Of those, about 40 have more serious issues.
"Those are situations where, due to the wind, the arms have been rotated the problem with that is that the wiring connecting the arms through the pole into the ground has now been crimped that disables the signals from functioning properly and to fix it they got to go and replace the wiring," Beau Tidwell, Communication Director for the Mayor's office said at a press conference on Tuesday. "That may mean foundation replacement, that may mean roadway pavement removal."
DPW says the repairs are going to cost $500,000 and there's currently an emergency bid out to get the 41 lights repaired.
That contract is expected to be in place in the next few weeks. Following that, repairs should take four-to-six weeks.
Some residents say the wait is dangerous.
"You can't control what the next person is going to do," said Steven Burrel, a downtown New Orleans resident.
Burrel just moved here from Chicago and says he's shocked about how long the repairs are taking and how the wait is impacting the flow of traffic.
"I definitely seen more accidents out here than I ever seen my whole life in Chicago," Burrel said.
Derick King is a bar manager at Copper Vine and says, since Ida, he's witnessed the danger of driving and walking in the Central Business District.
"There was an accident the other day," King said. "This morning, pretty much the same thing, they see one car stop and then they want to zoom ahead and then boom that's when you have an accident."
Nola.com reports that from Aug. 29 to Sept. 22, the New Orleans Police Department reports that were 15 car accidents in which traffic signal outages were a primary or secondary cause.
The City reminds residents that any time a stoplight is out you should treat it like a four-way stop.