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Traffic light problem slows Throat traffic

A malfunctioning traffic light caused major slowdowns Monday at the “Throat” entry into La Jolla.

“We received a call at 8:10 this morning of the signal flashing at La Jolla Shores Drive and Torrey Pines Road,” said Dan Roberts, city traffic signal supervisor. “It was fixed at 10:12 a.m.”

Ironically, it took crews awhile to fix the signal glitch because “they were stuck in traffic as well,” said Roberts, adding the problem likely was an equipment malfunction that caused the light to flash. “We have built-in safety devices in computer-control cabinets that put the signal on flash. There could be a number of reasons why it was on flash. It was probably a processor failure.”

In situations with flashing traffic signals due to equipment malfunction, Roberts said motorists should treat it like a four-way stop and act accordingly.

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While police were seen at the intersection at Torrey Pines Road and La Jolla Parkway, they were not directing traffic, according to several Light staffers who were stuck in the traffic.

Meanwhile, at the Torrey Pines Road intersection with Prospect, work will continue Tuesday.

The work on the 82-year-old streetlight circuitry, which had been halted because of complaints about traffic jams, will continue for what could be the last day, once again reducing Torrey Pines Road at that point to one lane.

“They’ll be working from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the travel lanes, shutting down the traffic light and putting traffic control in place, hopefully to minimize the impact,” said Tiffany Sherer, executive director of Promote La Jolla, the Village’s merchant district. “Traffic delays are inconvenient. We’re hoping the community can bare with us.”

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Sherer noted traffic disruptions due to the project - with the exception of the current Torrey Pines section - have been “very minimal” up to this point, adding the entire streetlight upgrade is expected to be completed by the end of May.