Dynamic left turn signals to relieve traffic during peak hours in Cary, Clayton

Posted February 10, 2020 10:12 p.m. EST
Updated February 10, 2020 11:28 p.m. EST

— A first-of-its kind design in the nation is making its way to two Triangle roadways.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation is installing a traffic signal called the “dynamic left turn” at intersections in Clayton and Cary to reduce travel delays.

Traffic engineers say the goal is to improve traffic flow at busy intersections, like at Southeast Cary Parkway and Tryon Road in Cary, and to move traffic more quickly during off-peak hours.

“It is a way that we can try to reduce delay at intersections,” said Joe Hummer, a state traffic management engineer.

It’s “dynamic” because it changes by the time of day.

“During the peak period, peak hours, when we want both those left turn lanes to be open and pushing through traffic, we can do that,” Hummer said.

During rush hour, drivers can use either of the two lanes.

When traffic is light, the outer left turn lane is closed.

Electronic LED signs indicate the closure.

These signs and signals are similar to what’s being used on Edwards Mill Road near PNC Arena in Raleigh.

Amy Melton, who lives in Apex, welcomes the idea.

“I think it would be very beneficial,” Melton said. “It would help traffic flow through a lot quicker.”

Stewart McRae, who lives in Cary, said altering the intersection isn’t necessary.

“I don’t know why they’re changing it,” he said.

NCDOT estimates the dynamic left turn at Southeast Cary Parkway and Tryon Road will save 2,000 vehicle hours per year.

The system will be launched on Friday. The same approach will also be implemented in Clayton in the spring.

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