Police have noticed an increase of traffic violations at the intersection off Exit 23 since the flashing red traffic lights have been installed.
Cpl. Glen Murphy of the RCMP Eastern Traffic Service said he’s seen a number of people driving through the intersection without coming to a complete stop.
“Since the lights have gone up, we’ve had a number of infractions,” he said. “Whether it’s not stopping or pulling out when they shouldn’t be.”
Murphy said there was a head-on collision at the intersection Thursday because a driver failed to stop at the flashing red light.
“He was pulling on McGregor Avenue here and there was a head-on (collision),”he said. “He just blew right through the red light and he was charged.”
Murphy said after he finished working out at the nearby Pictou County Wellness Centre earlier in the day Friday, he decided to check the intersection out himself.
“I watched the intersection and I wasn’t there ten minutes and a guy heading towards Westville went right through the intersection,” he said. “ I couldn’t believe it.”
Later in the day, he parked his patrol car at the intersection Friday to monitor the intersection. Around noon, he pulled over at least one driver who drove through the intersection without coming to a full stop.
“Either they don’t understand (what to do at a flashing red light) or they don’t care,” Murphy said of the traffic violators. “When you have a flashing red light, you have to come to a stop. This is treated as a four-way intersection.”
Alan Musick, sales manager at Central Nova Motors, has a perfect view of the intersection from his workplace. Every day he watches drivers rolling through the intersection without stopping.
“I’ve never seen so many people who don’t know what a flashing light is,” he said.
“It’s unbelievably scary watching an armoured truck go through at 50 km,” he said.
He hopes that with the stops police made Friday, people will get the idea that they can’t just drive through.
Murphy said police will continue to monitor the intersection.
“We’re going to do enforcement here,” he said. “It is a new set of lights and people are going to have to get used to it, but people are going to have to understand that they’re there for a reason and it’s to make sure people get through the intersection safely.”
Pamela Menchenton, spokeswoman for the Department of Transportation, said the lights will be programmed with red, green and yellow traffic signals in about a week.
“Normally they are left flashing for a few weeks to familiarize local frequent road users to the presence of new traffic signals until they are put into active full service,” she said in an email. “They’ve been flashing for two weeks thus far.”
Murphy said police will continue to monitor the intersection once the traffic lights are programmed.
“Stop means stop. It doesn’t mean creep up and go or yield,” Murphy said. “So what I often tell people is, when you get to a stop sign or a red light stop count to three and then go and you’ll find it takes a little bit of time, but eventually you’ll develop it as habit and get used to it.”