WINDERMERE Transportation officials are citing unsynchronized traffic signals in front of Windermere High School as the cause of numerous traffic jams along Winter Garden-Vineland Road since the start of the school year.
However, Orange County Traffic Engineering officials hope to have a fix installed this week, stating that the problem lies with faulty detectors.
“The signals are fully actuated, adjusting the timing based on actual traffic conditions,” said chief engineer Hazem El-Assar. “However, detectors are intermittently failing and reverting to fixed timing on the side street when there is no traffic.”
The faulty traffic signals are located along Winter Garden-Vineland Road at the entrance to Windermere High School and the intersection of Lake Cawood Drive.
According to El-Assar, when there is no traffic on the side streets, the lights for Winter Garden-Vineland Road traffic should remain green.
According to the Florida Highway Patrol, seven accidents have occurred on Winter Garden-Vineland Road in front of the high school since the start of the school year in August, primarily due to an increase in traffic from the new high school.
“There’s going to be an influx of traffic now because of the new school,” said FHP Public Affairs Officer Sgt. Kim Montes. “Seven (accidents) is not atrocious, but I looked back and we didn’t have a lot before. Anytime we see a new school go in, crashes go up.”
However, Montes could not say if the problematic traffic signals were contributing to the increase in crashes in front of the school.
In addition to fixing the traffic signals, El-Assar said that Orange County Traffic Engineering will be collecting additional data to make sure the signals are adjusted for the appropriate amount of traffic flow through the area.
“Traffic count data is also being collected to develop new synchronization plans to minimize stops and delays along the main street, Winter Garden Vineland Road,” he said. “New timing plans will be implemented by the end of this month.”
However, any changes that will be made will not include changing the signals to either blinking yellow or blinking red lights when school is not in session, El-Assar said.