New traffic light technology coming to Monroe next week

Monroe to get a new traffic signal on Highway 11 at its intersection with the new Charlotte Rowell Blvd. This new traffic signal one of the new technology designed to improve safety and increase traffic flow, especially for left-turn movements. According to officials with the Georgia Department of Transportation, the new flashing yellow arrows will be on both directions of SR 11 and should be operational Tuesday, Nov. 4, if weather permits.

“A review of the intersection showed the need for left turn arrows will enhance the traffic flow and overall operation of State Route 11. The new flashing yellow arrows are installed. They will become operational next Tuesday. It will improve the flow through the intersection by allowing left turners to move after yielding on yellow,” Brent Cook, Georgia DOT District Engineer said in the press release.

According to Georgia DOT officials, the new traffic lights are called Four-Section Flashing Yellow Arrow (FYA) signals. These traffic lights will be deployed at intersections with historic heavy left-turning traffic volumes will apply exclusively to drivers making left turns.  The signal will be a vertical display of four left turn arrows functioning as follows (and displayed in the attachment):

  • When solid Red arrow is illuminated, no left turn is allowed;
  • When solid Yellow arrow is displayed, drivers should prepare to stop as light is about to turn red;
  • When flashing Yellow arrow is illuminated, drivers may turn left but must yield to pedestrians and oncoming vehicles; and
  • When solid Green arrow is displayed, drivers may turn left.

Georgia DOT officials say Federal Highway Administration studies have shown these signals help reduce crashes of left-turning vehicles by as much as 35 percent. The FYA also offers clearer guidance to drivers turning left and allows them more movement through the intersection when no pedestrians or oncoming traffic are present, thereby reducing back-ups, engine idling and auto emissions.

“We believe this will help drivers wanting to make a left turn better understand when they can do so freely, when they may proceed with their turn cautiously, and when they may not turn left,”  Cook said.  “Our primary purpose is to reduce the often-devastating angle crashes that result when a left-turning vehicle is struck by oncoming traffic.”

This Youtube video explains how the new signal works.

Officials say FYA will be Georgia DOT’s preferred left turn traffic signal for eligible locations – those being locations with high numbers of left-turn movements that result in traffic back-ups and related accidents. In addition to the Georgia DOT locations, cities and counties throughout the state will identify eligible locations and apply to the Department for permits for the new traffic signals.

During heavy traffic volume the traffic signal may skip the flashing yellow phase to increase safety at the intersection.  Officials say it is important that drivers not try to anticipate what the traffic signal is about to do; just “drive and obey the signal.” Also, if the traffic signal has a malfunction the left turn will flash red. As with all signalized intersections, a flashing red is treated as a stop condition and flashing yellow is treated as proceed with caution. If all indications at an intersection are flashing red or the intersection is dark it should be treated as a four-way stop.


About Sharon Swanepoel 4223 Articles
Sharon Swanepoel is the Publisher and Editor of Monroe Local.
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