KEY LARGO -- The state's road agency has promised relief for those complaining about traffic backups at the Tradewinds Plaza intersection.
The Florida Department of Transportation informed the Free Press Friday that the malfunctioning stoplight had been corrected.
For a few weeks, the light at times would allow only a handful of vehicles on busy U.S. 1 through before turning red, even when no vehicles were trying to exit the shopping plaza or the Tarpon Basin neighborhood.
The situation had prompted residents to complain to local media as well as county and state officials.
"My life has been a bit of hell the last two weeks," said County Engineer Judy Clarke.
Clarke's department manages stoplights throughout the county, except when FDOT takes over management during road projects, she explained, as was the case at mile marker 101.4. The state agency has been resurfacing, restriping and widening shoulders along U.S. 1 in Key Largo since January.
Clarke said she had advised complainants to contact the Marathon FDOT office.
After initially telling the Free Press that traffic light issues fall under the county's purview, FDOT officials later took responsibility for the problem and said it had been fixed.
"The signal's irregularity yesterday was caused by a non-programmed change in the preset timings with the controller," FDOT spokeswoman Sandra Bello said in an email. "Originally the signal timings were programmed on June 14, without any reported issues."
Bello went on to write that FDOT agents had monitored the reprogrammed light to make sure it was functioning properly.
"The intersection was observed continuously from 6:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. and all north and southbound queues cleared within the allocated time," she wrote. "Moving forward the signal will rest in green for the north and southbound movements until a demand is made from the side street when cars are over the loop or when a pedestrian actuates the pedestrian signal to cross U.S. 1."
Bello did not say when the county would again take over management of the stoplight.