The traffic signal at the intersection of routes 17 and 90 is scheduled for repair, and a rainy spring has delayed the work, but a Department of Transportation spokesman said a change in technology would allow the work to be done sooner than anticipated.

Dave Allen is DOT’s region traffic engineer for the Midcoast. He said April 26 that a detector under the road’s surface was not functioning properly and that the signal was now running on a timed cycle. He said the timing of the signal changes was based on historical data and set for a heavy flow and ran through all cycles whether there were cars waiting or not.

“It’s going to be a long cycle at night,” said Allen. He said DOT plans to replace the activated signal as soon as possible. Once the signal is repaired, the lights will respond to actual traffic flow.

“A work order has been issued to have a contractor fix that,” he said. “The reality is spring has not been kind to us.” Allen said DOT would replace the old sensor, which was embedded below the surface of the road, with a microwave detector that does not need to be sealed in the pavement and that installation of the microwave sensor did not depend on dry weather.

Allen said DOT could not set a specific date for the contractor to do the work, but that it would be sooner than previously anticipated.

“It’s on a priority [schedule] to be an activated cycle,” he said.

“All things being equal this contractor normally effects repairs within a week,” he said. Allen said the wet weather had caused delays of up to a month for some repairs.

Allen said he did not think the problem was the result of damage that occurred last fall when Aqua Maine was working in the intersection.

“My understanding is that they had it repaired and it functioned during the winter and broke again this spring,” he said.

The Herald Gazette Reporter Shlomit Auciello can be reached at 207-236-8511 or by e-mail at