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Dallas neighborhood gets permanent traffic lights years after tornado tears through town

Dallas neighborhood gets permanent traffic lights after nearly half a decade of waiting
Dallas neighborhood gets permanent traffic lights after nearly half a decade of waiting 02:02

DALLAS — On October 20, 2019, a tornado tore through Dallas' Midway Hollow neighborhood, destroying homes, businesses, and several schools in its path. In the days following the storm, the city placed temporary traffic lights. 

Four years and six months later, the temporary lights are still there. Construction of the permanent ones began this week to the relief of the community's residents. 

Midway Hollow Resident Robert Bartolomeo says the temporary lights are, "a very dangerous situation."

The city says the temporary lights have been functional since they were first installed. However, neighbors point out that the light only blinks yellow on Midway Road, causing congestion in an area with multiple schools. 

"There's no protection for us," says resident Tom Bloodgood. "The people are going 50 miles an hour, and I can't tell you how many times we've almost been rear-ended trying to slow down and turn on our back street to get to our driveway." 

As their frustration mounted month after month, they started posting signs at the intersection. They appealed to the city.  

"We've seen a lot of expenses in the area. The school, ESD, the bond, a lot of expenses, but no progress on the light," says Bartolomeo.

Council Member Gay Donnell Willis of District 13 says a series of circumstances out of their control contributed to the delay. First, FEMA denied the funding, and then the pandemic contributed to worker and supply shortages.

"And so we have held our place in line and worked with our contractor through labor shortages and material shortages and have just really kept the heat on so that this project could get going today," explained Willis. 

Council Member Willis says the installation of the new lights should be complete in August.

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