Lots of speculation about those cameras installed recently above the county’s one and only set of stoplights at the intersection of Main and Locust Streets in the center of Floyd.

Red light cameras designed to give tickets to those who dare run the light? Nope. Traffic monitoriing cameras in a town where three cars backed up at the light constitute a traffic jam? Nah.

Resident highway administrator Bob Beasley tells me they’re the Virginia Department of Transportation’s new-fangled way of controlling when the lights turn green and red.

Floyd’s solitary traffic light has, for many years,  been a timed signal. It stays green for a specified length of time, then cycles through yellow to red. Traffic on Main Street (U.S. 221) and Locust Street (Virginia Route 8) enjoyed the same length of time to make it through the green light.

But the geniuses at VDOT think Floyd’s overwhelming traffic problem is better controlled by keeping the light on green longer during backups so we don’t start looking like Roanoke’s Orange Avenue at rush hour.  A combination of video cameras and sensors monitor traffic flow on both streets and trigger the lights when necessary and keep turn on green longer when that is needed as well.

So video cameras come into play. VDOT cannot afford to keep the county’s maintenance shop open and will close it this fall as part of budget cuts but the agency can spend a bundle on traffic control cameras in a town where traffic is not a problem.

Our tax dollars at work.