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City enhances visibility of traffic signals
Retroreflective tape is being installed around the borders of traffic signal backplates.

Drivers around several Yuma intersections near schools may notice – more easily – the traffic signal heads above them. This is due to the City employing a safety measure proven to reduce crashes by 15 percent.

City of Yuma Public Works department crews are installing retroreflective tape around the borders of traffic signal backplates. The material, similar to that which makes highway exit signs visible at night, makes the signal heads more noticeable to drivers.

Adding the inexpensive, easy-to-install reflective tape has a number of benefits, according to the Federal Highway Administration. It reduces crashes caused by unintentional red light running, and enhances visibility for older and colorblind drivers. Their data shows intersections saw a 15 percent reduction in the number of crashes after being equipped with reflective tape.

“One practical application of this is when there is a power outage that takes out a traffic light, the signal itself will still be visible, alerting drivers they need to treat that intersection as a four-way stop,” said Pete Montalvo, public works manager for the City of Yuma.

The City is targeting intersections near schools as the first locations to receive reflective tape. Drivers can currently see these traffic signals at 20th Street and Avenue B, and at Palmcroft Drive and Avenue A.

Eventually, the City plans to cover 79 signalized intersections with retroreflective borders on backplates. The process could take 6 to 8 months to complete.


Photo courtesy Federal Highway Administration.