I’ve spent a lot of time sharing information about hurricane preparation and safety on this blog. After all, hurricanes are just reality here in the Tampa Bay area.
One of the dangers that you might face during a hurricane are tumbling traffic lights. They can and do snap right off of their cable and go flying.
However, there’s a new invention that might be changing all that. Bob Townsend is a Florida native who has invented a device to predict traffic light collapse during hurricanes.
The device doesn’t look that impressive at first. As this article mentions, “it’s only two feet long and made solely of cast aluminum.” Impressive-looking or not, the device can withstand winds of up to 110 miles per hour.
Townsend, a home designer, was able to create a swivel point that connects the traffic light to the connecting cable. The swivel design allows the light to move freely with the wind. Cable designs tend to bounce and crack off, according to Townsend.
Townsend and his wife nearly lost their house and everything they own to fund the idea.
…The payoff would come when the Florida Department of Transportation caught on to the idea. FDOT is now retrofitting 54 intersections in Palm Beach County and 52 in Broward County.
“Hopefully it’ll cut down on the confusion after storms come through,” said Andrea Pacini, a spokesperson for the FDOT project.
The project could save the state millions of dollars in repair costs after a storm.
Townsend said he truly has only one desire. “Help people save lives.”
If they work in Palm Beach County I could see FDOT rolling them out to the rest of Florida in short order. In the meantime, it’s quite impressive to see the ingenuity that went into making this idea a reality.
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