Portable Traffic Lights Make Work Zone Traffic Safer

Posted July 30, 2007

A dump truck assembly line is hauling tons of dirt across busy Camelot Drive. But there are no flagmen, and traffic and trucks are getting along quite well.

The reason: a set of portable traffic lights.

C.C. Mangum's Larry Whitehurst came up with the idea.

The portable lights are solar powered.

Instead of three flagmen, and those hard-to-read stop-and-go signs, there is one light operator who watches the traffic pattern and changes the lights accordingly, standing behind a fence, not like a flagman standing in traffic.

“He is the most vulnerable person in the work zone,” Whitehurst said. “He can be hit by a car. And this happened in another county, and the flagman was killed.”

On June 13, in Granville County, a hit-and-run driver struck and killed Richard Williamson as he tried to direct traffic.

Protecting workers is one important aspect of the lights. Protecting drivers is another.

One of the biggest things crews say they are noticing is driver reaction – most positive.

“I think it works,” one driver said. “You don't have to worry about people with flags and the signs, so it works.”

The contractor plans to use the portable light system next on the Davis Drive Widening project in Research Triangle Park.


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  • Bob Sidel Aug 1, 2007

    well at least now when some stay at home soccer mom on her cell phone comes barreling through the work area, an actual person wont get killed.

  • cybermil Jul 31, 2007

    Hard to believe portable lights make most of the world its standard practice..even in 3rd world countries. The US needs to catch up...

  • Steve Crisp Jul 31, 2007

    I wonder if I could lease one when trying to turn left out of Arby's on Hilsborough Street?

  • svaraj38758 Jul 31, 2007

    Amazing that someone hasn't come up with this sooner.

  • OpinionOnEverything Jul 31, 2007

    It's a fantastic idea!

  • Nancy Jul 30, 2007

    Excellent idea! Kudo's to CC Mangum corporation!