Explained: The mystery of the M62 wonky lampposts

Picture of folding street lights on the M62. Pic: Glen Minikin

Picture of folding street lights on the M62. Pic: Glen Minikin

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A long line of wonky lampposts has had drivers mystified on one of Yorkshire’s busiest routes.

The motorway lights on the M62 in West Yorkshire are bent in the middle, prompting some drivers to think they had been damaged by vandals.

Picture of folding street lights on the M62. Pic: Glen Minikin

Picture of folding street lights on the M62. Pic: Glen Minikin

However the Highways Agency has revealed they are an ingenious new design with hinges in the middle that allows safe access to overhead power lines.

Philippa Grainger, 32, of Manchester, saw the bent lights are she drove near Leeds.

She said: “When I saw the first one I assumed it had somehow been vandalised but as I drove along I saw they were all like that for a long stretch.

“They look really strange, like a bent cotton bud or an instrument a dentist might use, I’ve never seen lamp posts like that before and when I arrived at work other people were asking about them too.”

A spokeswoman for the Highways Agency solved the mystery.

She said: “The lampposts have been hinged like that so National Grid can renew the overhead power lines.

“They need to be lowered to remove any risk of electrification of the columns or arcing of electrical charges on to the columns when the power lines are lowered.”

It’s not the first time M62 lampposts have caused driver concern recently.

Last winter a video clip showed them shaking violently in a snowstorm as Britain was hit by strong winds and freezing temperatures.

The clip posted by motorist Bob Hill on Facebook was viewed more than a million times, and had 27,500 shares.

Mr Hill, who lives in Grimsby, Lincolnshire, took the video on the M62 near Lofthouse, a West Yorkshire village in between Wakefield and Leeds.

The Highways Agency said the video shows ‘vortex shedding’ - when the natural frequency of a lamp column matches the speed of the wind.

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