Despite appearing to be perfectly useless, the warning beacon seems to, nevertheless, work without a hitch. It was found by activists belonging to the All-Russia People’s Front (ONF), a movement dedicated to fighting corruption and government waste.
The activist group estimates that the stoplight cost around 2 million rubles (more than $30,000) to install. Maintaining the device also requires money, which obviously comes from the city budget.
“In 2014 there was a plan to build a road at the vacant lot. However, a financing shortage didn’t allow the idea to be realized,” an ONF spokesperson said.
The group said they were planning to contact local authorities to find out exactly how much money has been spent on the project and see whether it still makes sense to keep allocating money to it.
Photos of the traffic lights rapidly spread on Russian social media, with reactions ranging from anger to irony.
Some wondered whether motorists are fined if they run the light when it’s red or exceed the speed limit in front of it. Others speculated on where the money for the road had gone in the first place, insinuating city authorities might know. Still others simply laughed at the pictures.
The online frenzy led local authorities to try to justify the stoplight in the middle of nowhere.
“In fact there is traffic in that area, but a small one,” Nikolay Stepanov, head of the Yaroslavl municipal services agency said. “Though the asphalt road hasn’t been built, car owners managed to make a kind of country road leading to their houses. That’s why the traffic light is necessary for this crossroad.”
Pictures of the site however make it hard to believe there is a necessity for traffic regulation in the area. It would take a vivid imagination to even picture an intersection near the traffic lights.