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The longest traffic light in America

June 14, 2010 3:41:20 PM PDT
Many would think that running a town with the "longest traffic light in America" would be embarrassing enough to get things changed. Yet, in the New Jersey town of West Milford the longest light turns 10 years old this month with no change in sight. The intersection along Route 23 is actually two lights with a combined wait time of up to 5 minutes.

"Everyone who lives around here goes the next light down. It's a horror, a horror," said, Ellen Sandin, a West Milford resident.

The trouble is actually two lights, 400 feet apart. Drivers are stopped at the reds so long it seems as if they were waiting for a train to pass or a drawbridge to go down.

"I live a mile north of here, getting home takes me a minute or two, coming back takes 15 minutes because of this light," said Ed Logan of Logan and Logan CPA.

The lights at the intersection of Route 23 and Clinton road were timed and last as long as two minutes and 45 seconds. Green lights were as short as eight seconds.

Drivers desperate to make both green lights in one attempt have to floor it. In total, drivers could be waiting more than four minutes just to cross Route 23.

Drivers are using the time at the lights for different purposes. One man said he polishes off his entire morning coffee.

"I think about a problem at the job and think of solutions, you can't read a novel or anything" Logan said.

The Department of Transportation timed the lights this long to ease rush hour congestion on Route 23. They have no plans to change them.

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