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Time change no big deal for city clocks

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POSTED October 31, 2013 11:53 p.m.

It has happened to all of us.

You wake up the morning after DayLight Savings Time goes into effect, look at your watch or that clock on your mantle and end up showing up somewhere an hour late when you realize that you forgot that you were supposed to set it ahead an hour at 2 a.m.

It works the other way as well – arriving early only to discover that you didn’t pay nearly enough attention to the 3,241 reminders that you were supposed to set your clock back by an hour.

But if you lived in Manteca or Ripon, all you would have had to have done was drive past each communities’ clock clock towers to get an accurate reading.

And both have solved the human error factor that comes with making sure that the reading is 100 percent on par.

When Ripon reworked the intersection of Wilma Avenue, Werner Driver and Fulton Avenue – adding a roundabout to handle the traffic trying to access the nearby onramp to Highway 99 and the commercial projects that were under construction – they added a four-way clock tower that provided a unique landmark for the blended neighborhood.

It wouldn’t be much of an issue for the city to have to send out a public works employee to manually wind the minute hands back 360 degrees once a year, but according to civil engineer James Pease, such work isn’t necessary thanks to modern technology.

“It’s basically set by a controller that will take care of that for the next 100 years,” he said. “It came built-in from the manufacturer, and everything is pretty much fully automated. And it’s even run by a battery backup – if the power were to go out, it would keep track of the time and then reset to the accurate time when the power is restored.

“There is some maintenance – we’ll have to change the lights at some point, but to my knowledge we haven’t had to do that yet.”

Manteca has a similar system.

Not far from where the Manteca High School bell tower once stood Diede Construction crafted a new tower at the Manteca Transit Center on Moffat Boulevard. It has clocks that face four different directions to add a dimension to the building.

According to Manteca City Manager Karen McLaughlin, the Manteca tower clocks also set themselves whenever a time change comes up.

“I talked to somebody at Diede and apparently they  run on an Atomic Clock,” McLaughlin said. “There isn’t anybody that actually has to go in and change anything. That wasn’t something that I had never actually thought about.”

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