Blinking yellow traffic arrows might make driving more mellow |

Blinking yellow traffic arrows might make driving more mellow

Terri Harber
Appeal Staff Writer

New left-turn lights intended to make it less stressful to roll through intersections will debut this week at the intersection of Roop and Colorado streets.

The lights will add a flashing-yellow arrow to each cycle for drivers turning left from Roop to Colorado.

The new blinking yellow arrows “have been shown to help clarify for left-turning motorists when they must yield,” said James Jacklett, a signal system technician for Carson City. “The new arrows are designed to make intersections safer and more efficient.”

A green arrow means “proceed,” a yellow arrow indicates “prepare to stop,” and a red arrow means “stop.”

The blinking yellow arrow will be sandwiched between the steady green and yellow cycles to warn drivers that a “left turn is permitted” but to “proceed with caution after yielding to pedestrians and oncoming traffic.”

Research conducted by the Federal Highway Administration showed that the added light symbol made travel safer and faster for drivers. It also makes traffic conditions more manageable for street departments.

Results of the study are “promising,” Jacklett said.

The intersection was chosen for two reasons: It’s a city-controlled intersection and receives no more than 10,000 each day – a relatively low number, said Harvey Brotzman, the city’s senior transportation engineer.

If the change was to occur on a state-controlled street, such as Highway 50 or 395, the Nevada Department of Transportation would have to approve it.

More intersections will be modified as time goes by, though when and which ones hasn’t been determined yet, Brotzman said.

“It’s going to be a learning process,” he said.

Residents who’ve driven through Sparks or Portland, Ore., for example, might have already encountered these types of left-turn signals.

Workers are expected to have the new lights up Thursday. Cost will be less than $5,000 for the modifications.

Drivers rolling through the area should expect minor traffic delays on Wednesday and Thursday as workers install the new equipment.

• Contact reporter Terri Harber at tharber or 882-2111, ext. 215.