Traffic signals at about 1,200 Houston area intersections were not yet working Tuesday but should all have at least a flashing red light by the end of next week, said Mike Marcotte, the city’s director of public works and engineering.
“I’ve been amazed with the courtesy our drivers have been showing,” Marcotte said. “Our biggest issue at this point is going out and making repairs on the signals as well as waiting for power to be restored.”
Getting all the city’s traffic lights functioning at pre-Hurricane Ike levels could take until November, Marcotte said.
In some cases, it is not just a matter of getting the power restored, but also repairing equipment pummeled by Ike’s winds and rain, he said.
At least 90 percent of the city’s 2,500 intersections with traffic lights sustained damage from the storm, according to the city.
A quarter of a million people in the Houston region were without running water Tuesday, according to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, which regulates more than 2,500 public water systems in the 10-county region hammered by Hurricane Ike.
Commission officials did not know about another 600,000 people because they have been unable to communicate with those utilities in the wake of the storm.
The result is hundreds of thousands of people who cannot bathe, use the bathroom, or even cook nearly two weeks after they lost access to running water.
Restoring it may prove complicated. The problem has myriad causes, including power outages and severe infrastructure damage in coastal areas. Some public water systems, which Texas regulators require to continue pumping in spite of power outages, have failed to do so, according to residents they serve and state officials.
And the lights just came on at work…For the first time since the storm…Back to work full time tommorrow.