Letter – Syncing redlights could save lives

Published 5:49 pm Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

Why are the three traffic lights on Route 17 in Eagle Harbor impeding the flow of traffic? The lights are not in-sync with the flow of traffic from the James River Bridge.  

When I read the article (“Tornado downed trees, cut power,” June 21) about Valerie Butler stopped on the JRB as she noticed the funnel cloud forming, light posts swaying with heavy winds and downpour that blew off her gas cap, I could sympathize with her – as well as all of the other motorists trapped on the bridge trying to get home safely.  

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In the event of an emergency (tornado warning) can the lights be set to allow the flow of traffic to get off the bridge? Bridge traffic was at a standstill due to the red traffic lights. If a house is on fire and people are trapped inside the burning house, isn’t it a firefighter’s duty to rescue the people from the burning building?  

If you travel Jefferson Avenue in Newport News, the traffic lights are in-sync with the flow of traffic, thus preventing a backup to Williamsburg. Can the traffic lights in Eagle Harbor be set with better timing to allow a better flow of traffic on the JRB from May to September? The tornado on Friday, June 16, could’ve resulted in fatalities.I am extremely grateful that it did not! 


Debbie Whitley