2-hour drive reveals 53 intersections without working stoplights

Eleven consecutive stoplights on Mt. Elliot aren’t working. At night, the intersections are so dark that it’s easy to drive through them without even noticing.

After Sunday night’s storm, traffic lights across the city are still out. In most cities, police officers would direct traffic or public works employees would post temporary stop signs.

But this is Detroit, and police are too busy to babysit intersections that could be without power for weeks. And there’s no money for stop signs.

On Thursday evening, we took a two-hour drive through the city and came across 53 intersections with nonworking lights. Many were at busy intersections on Woodward, Gratiot, Mack, Grand River, Harper and West Chicago.

“Someone’s gonna die; it’s only a matter of time,” Eric Williams, 57, told me as he waited for a bus on Mack near Mt. Elliot, where a busy intersection had no working lights. “I’ve seen some close calls.”

When traffic lights are out, drivers are supposed to treat the intersections as four-way stops. But that often doesn’t happen.

During a 10-minute period Thursday at the intersection of Mt. Elliot and Huber, nearly half of the 57 cars, trucks and rigs that approached the intersection failed to stop or yield.

We’ll continue to monitor the traffic lights and provide updates.

If you live in Detroit, let us know if traffic lights are out in your area. 


Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.

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