Motorists call for permanent answer to traffic light issues at a Northampton junction

The White Elephant junction. Image from Google Maps.
The White Elephant junction. Image from Google Maps.
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  • Several malfunctions since Christmas, staff at nearby pub say
  • Two-hour lights failure yesterday
  • Council says regular maintenance checks are carried out

Motorists have called for a solution to the problems that have seen traffic lights fail at the White Elephant junction in Northampton several times this year.

Drivers were forced to negotiate the busy junction without the aid of lights for more than two hours yesterday morning after a malfunction.

And staff at the pub the junction is named after said the potentially dangerous situation is a frequent occurrence.

Sophie Davies, a team leader at the pub, said: “I’d estimate the lights have been down between six and eight times since Christmas time.

“Sometimes they are sorted out quickly but there have been occasions where I’d get in at 10am and the highways workers’ signs are up and they’d still be there when I left at 6pm.

“During those times we are always hearing horns beeping and there have been a number of near misses.”

On the Chron’s Facebook page, several readers commented on the frequency of the light failures.

Phil Leach said: “The junction is chaos and dangerous when the traffic lights are out. This is not the first time it has happened recently and there were many accidents. It is also very dangerous for pedestrians like myself who cross it a few times a day.”

A spokesman for Northamptonshire County Council said yesterday’s issue was caused by an electrical fault, but added that not all the lights failures were caused by malfunctions. For example, the cause several weeks ago was a road traffic accident.

He added that highways workers endeavour to make regular checks.

He said: “As well as a set maintenance regimen for traffic lights – they are inspected at least once a year – the vast majority of traffic signals in the county ‘self-report’ faults by contacting the control hub at Northamptonshire Highways.

“There are 385 sets of traffic light systems in the county, of which 110 are monitored by staff, so they can see if there is a problem immediately.”