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Six Metres Above Traffic to Keep You Moving

November 26, 2012
Published In: Signal Systems

​His job is to get to traffic signals when they're out, and to get them up and running so motorists can safely clear intersections.

Matt and his team at EPCOR Technologies maintain the City of Edmonton's street lights, traffic signals and light rail transit systems. And, they're ready to mobilize when the streets go dark.

As Matt, Signals Technician, explains, weather and the resulting traffic incidents can cause major damage to pedestals and other critical infrastructure that keep the signals and streetlamps alight.

 

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"It gives me a lot of satisfaction to be out here, doing what I can for this city. I'm outside all day working with my hands, and I get to see what's going on all over the city. It's easy to get up in the morning."

- Matt, Signals Technician

 

"Under normal conditions we might get one pole or damaged fixture a week that we have to replace, but in a storm, we could have 3 – 4 calls backed up all over the city."

When there's trouble, EPCOR crews respond immediately, even if it isn't obvious to the casual observer. A lot has to happen behind the scenes to make the fix.

"If we're called in from home, it does take time to get to the shop to get our truck, the details of the call and any materials, and then drive out to site. Once we get the call, that's our priority: to do everything we have to do to restore service."

The first thing Matt and the rest of the crews do when arriving on scene is make it safe for working in — not a trivial task on Edmonton's busy streets. Sometimes that means blocking off an intersection with cones and barricades and turning on the truck's flashers. 

Working in a bucket six metres above traffic, Matt relies on his partner to be his eyes on the ground, watching for high loads: "My back's to traffic so I won't see anything coming until it's already passing beneath me."

So if you see a lane is blocked off for an EPCOR crew, that's a good thing: It means we're working to restore service, safely.

"It gives me a lot of satisfaction to be out here, doing what I can for this city. I'm outside all day working with my hands, and I get to see what's going on all over the city. It's easy to get up in the morning.

"And, when you look back on the day, and you see how much you accomplished and the difference you made, you know it was a good day."

​When a Storm Hits Our Town