This story was updated Monday night with a comment from the Norwalk Police.
NORWALK, Conn. – Traffic lights rained down on Wall Street on Saturday evening when a traffic light pole collapsed, NancyOnNorwalk readers say.
NoN got photographs from two readers. One shows a light pole that appears to be rusted at the bottom. The other captures a scene of chaos, with at least eight traffic lights lying in the intersection of Wall and Main Street. The photo was taken at 8:33 p.m. The reader said he had spoken to the police on scene, who told him the light pole simply collapsed.
Norwalk Police Sgt. Terry Blake confirmed that account.
“An officer in the area investigating a motor vehicle accident heard a crash and then located the pole down,” Blake said Monday afternoon. “It appeared to have fallen over, based on the officer’s report. The report indicates that the traffic lights at the intersection of Wall/Main were the only ones downed.”
Neither Mayor Harry Rilling nor Department of Public Works Director Hal Alvord answered Sunday emails on the topic. Rilling has been on vacation.
Traffic light signals weigh up to 28 pounds each, according to ask.com.
“We are lucky that no one was injured in the traffic light pole collapse at Wall & Main Street over the weekend,” said Norwalk Center Task Force Chairwoman Jackie Lightfield in an email. “The visible rust on light poles, and traffic signal poles along Main Street suggest that there is a serious issue in the area, which I hope to work with DPW and the Mayor’s office to address immediately. With the recent explosion on Main St, visible cracks along the Wall Street bridge sidewalk and now this, the safety of area residents and businesses is at stake. While it is premature to outline what actions need to happen next, at minimum an engineering assessment of all poles of the same vintage should take place asap.”
She said he wasn’t positive that an accident had not precipitated the event. “You can see dents on the other poles so I know they do get hit,” she wrote. “This one was taken away before I got back to Norwalk. I don’t think there was any report of an immediate impact prior to the pole going down.”
A source said there have been complaints about rusting poles on Main Street for years.
“Luckily no one was under this light when it collapsed but it could have easily killed or injured anyone unlucky enough to have been under it, in a car, on foot, or on a bicycle,” said Bike/Walk Task Force co-Chairman Mike Mushak. “The city dodged a bullet on this one.”
It’s part of a pattern of neglect, he said, adding a more pithy comment.
“It was one of the most effective traffic calming measures the Department of Public Works has ever come up with,” Mushak said. “They finally came up with a solution using existing infrastructure. It was brilliant, a brilliant traffic calming measure – it totally stopped traffic.”