Traffic signal up and running after viewers call 12 for help

CHESTERFIELD , VA (WWBT) - When viewers called NBC12 for help November 2010, they didn't think a traffic light at the intersection of Hull Street Road and Otterdale Road in Chesterfield County was possible.

They had hoped the Virginia Department of Transportation would paint double-yellow lines in the median. But after a traffic study, VDOT found a traffic signal at the intersection was needed. May 18, 2011, VDOT flipped the switch and the signal is now working.

Wednesday, a portable blinking sign alerted drivers to the change at Hull Street Road and Otterdale Road. The state also put up signs that flash, warning drivers of a stop light at the intersection.

"We really needed it with as many accidents that were occurring here," driver Elizabeth Umbehant said.

With the traffic signal now in place, Elizabeth Umbehant said she feels safer in her car.

"I was mad because I was in a car accident myself there," explained Umbehant as she stood along Otterdale Road. "And I was just like, somebody has got to do something."

Six months ago Umbehant called NBC12 for help. The median was chaotic. Drivers were zipping through in all directions, avoiding each other by a few feet. In five years VDOT reported more than three dozen wrecks.

"It's about safety," said Umbehant. "That's what it's about."

Not even one full day passed, yet some drivers already dis-like the new light. But people coming out of one neighborhood said two minutes with your foot on the brake is nothing to get upset over.

"There are a lot of my friends that have had accidents here," said Maria Cabrera. She spoke with us as she sat in her car that was stopped at a red light. "And there have been a lot of injured people. So it's a wonderful thing that the light's finally here."

Were you ready for it this morning? "No. I wasn't ready for it this morning," said Laura Sale from behind the driver's seat. "But it's nice to stop and let the traffic go by."

Along with the new lights, VDOT installed sensors and cameras. It's a way for the state to monitor the traffic pattern.

"A lot of people were thanking me," said Umbehant laughing. "They thought I was responsible. But I'm not. I just pushed the envelope a little bit, that's all."

Wednesday, VDOT employees spent about five hours calibrating the new traffic signals. Employees said the lights along Hull Street Road can communicate with each other, so traffic should flow.

If you would like to report a problem with a road near you call VDOT:

1-800-FOR-ROAD (367-7623)

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