Traffic Lights: More Expensive Than I Thought

The cost, including installation, of one traffic light in Maricopa County, Arizona is $225,000.

HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?

This 2010 article from the Pekin Daily Times breaks it down:

“If you’re doing a new intersection then (engineers) have to go out and do traffic counts, a full survey of the pavement and the surrounding area, find the source of electricity and things like that,” Wuellner said.
Engineers also have to take soil samples to decide where new poles can be buried, as well as design how the lights, the controlling computer and the magnetic loops that detect traffic will all function together for the unique characteristics of the intersection.Engineering costs for a new four-way intersection can run as much as $25,000, he said.

 

Did you have any idea?  I had no idea. I would have guessed, if pressed, that a traffic light was $5,000, max. But, apparently just the clicky controller thing in the metal box  — “the computer brains of the contraption” — is $9,250. (WOW.)

Photo Credit: flickr/Anas Qtiesh

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2 Comments / Post A Comment

Pro tip when you’re wondering “why is X so expensive”: it’s ALWAYS labor costs. Especially if there is engineering or lawyering involved.

Maybe it’s easier to swallow if you think of it as artisanal infrastructure?

Megano! (#124)

How much does a stop sign cost? I WANT TO KNOW NOW!

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