BETHESDA, Md. – Montgomery County officials say due to system control issues with their traffic lights, many drivers had to suffer through significant delays on Wednesday. Delays continued Thursday and Ride-On buses are free for riders who want to leave their cars at home.
Officials say all traffic signals in the county are functioning on regular, or non-rush hour, timing. That means traffic congestion is much worse than normal, and drivers were the ones paying the price in their nightly commute.
A computer glitch that occurred on Tuesday after the evening rush hour actually started the issue, causing traffic lights in the county not to switch to rush-hour timing for the morning drive. As a result, many drivers were significantly delayed on their way to work Wednesday and again on Wednesday night.
County officials say Ride-On buses will be free on Thursday, and they’re hoping to encourage some commuters to leave their cars at home. They say they’ll try to have the glitch fixed by the morning rush hour, but they won’t know for sure until dawn.
Montgomery County Councilwoman Nancy Floreen was among those caught in the mess on Wednesday night. She said the bottom line for residents was to be nice to each other, and be patient.
The county says a host of engineers are adjusting the timing of the signals on the busiest roadways by hand, and they’re hoping to make the repairs in a timely fashion.
The computer that failed dates back to the 1970s, and Montgomery County officials have already begun a six-year, $35 million overhaul of their traffic management system, which includes replacing all traffic signal hardware and upgrading the complex computer system.