Traffic bosses are slug-proofing traffic lights in Walkden after admitting the slimy gastropods caused traffic lights at a busy junction to break four times in two weeks.
After the lights went repeatedly went down there was an inevitable accident where the A580 East Lancs Road meets the A575 Walkden Road at 6am on Wednesday 14 September.
Luckily no-one was hurt, but the smash destroyed a traffic light pole and caused hours of delays.
Councillor Iain Lindley, who represents Walkden, predicted there would be an accident after the signals stopped working for the third morning rush hour in a row.
Transport for Greater Manchester caused uproar online when they blamed slugs for wreaking slime havoc on the traffic lights’ electrical circuits.
— TfGM (@OfficialTfGM) September 13, 2016
But the authority has now confirmed that on at least three occasions this was the cause of the breakdown.
Engineers were dispatched to four urgent repair call-outs at the same junction between Thursday 8 and Wednesday 14 September.
In three of the cases, including the Wednesday’s crash, it was found that residue left by slugs entering the roadside signal control box had caused it to short-circuit.
According to TfGM, no immediate cause could be verified for the other incident which saw mayhem in the morning rush-hour.
A Transport for Greater Manchester spokesperson said: “TfGM staff have checked the control box at the junction to ensure that it is properly sealed and sanded to prevent slugs, as much as is possible, from entering the unit.
“We’ve also stressed to our contractor the importance of ensuring that all signal control boxes are properly maintained and that they continue to treat any faults as an urgent priority.
“They have committed to carrying out a full investigation, reporting to us at the earliest opportunity.
“We apologise to drivers for any inconvenience or delay caused and we will continue to monitor the situation.”
As strange as it may sound, slugs damaging traffic light circuits are not an uncommon phenomenon.
In 2011, a teenage girl was killed in a car crash after a slug caused a set of traffic lights to fail in Staffordshire.
Clearly, transport operators must take this issue seriously and ensure that electrical circuits are properly sealed off.
Cllr Lindley said: “I’m relieved that no-one was badly hurt in the crash – but if the lights continue to fail then at best we will face severe disruption and at worst we will see another serious accident with the possibility of injuries or worse.
“TfGM and Salford City Council need to do all that they can to prevent another reoccurrence.”
Main image: @CllrILindley