Blue lights to be installed at some Bismarck stoplights

BISMARCK, N.D. - Blue lights will be making an appearance at intersections in Bismarck sometime next year.

Bismarck Police Department said the technology will help them catch drivers who run red lights.

They’re called Omni Directional Law Enforcement Confirmation Lights and they're used to alert officers when traffic lights turn red.

“There would be the blue light enforcement lights deployed at every signal that the city of Bismarck operates and maintains,” said Bismarck City Engineer Gabe Schell. “This gives police another tool in the tool belt to be able to monitor an intersection and perform red light enforcement.”

The lights wont notify patrols directly when someone runs a red light in the more than 100 intersections in Bismarck.

Officers will have to be in the area in order to spot the blue lights going off.

“This confirmation light will be hardwired into the traffic signals so when the traffic signal turns to red these confirmation lights will come on,” said Bismarck Police Department Commander of Traffic Section, Jeff Solemsaas. “If an officer is at an angle where they can’t actually see the traffic signal itself or they’re on the opposite side, that confirmation will be illuminated so they can see that the light will be red for that direction of travel.”

But, why not just install red light cameras so patrols don't have to be in the area to see the blue light pop up to make a stop?

“That's not allowed in North Dakota,” said Solemsaas. “North Dakota law states we have to identify the driver of the vehicle. That's the main reason why red light cameras are prohibited."

The blue light will not have a camera incorporated with it.

“There’s no camera or recording equipment associated with this counter measure, it’s just an indicator that will help PD enforce. As opposed to a red light camera that is going to be set up for the recording and enforcement of red light running,” said Schell.

According to the City of Bismarck, they expect the project to cost around 6 hundred thousand dollars and is funded using primary federal highway safety improvement dollars.

The project will be bid before the year ends and constructed next year.