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Last updated: Fri. Dec. 13, 2013 - 01:50 am EDT

Traffic tweak at Dupont adds flashing, clarity

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FORT WAYNE — Motorists along Dupont Road can expect to see some changes at a few traffic lights in the very near future.

They’re changes that Indiana Department of Transportation officials expect will make left turns safer than before.

Gone will be the solid green signal indicating that those turning left need to yield to oncoming traffic.

In its place: a flashing yellow arrow that indicates they are free to turn left after yielding to oncoming drivers or pedestrians.

“Research has shown flashing yellow arrows are more easily understood than the solid green balls,” said Ben Schaffer, the technology services director for INDOT’s Fort Wayne office.

The flashing yellow arrows are to be put in place along Dupont at the intersections with Parkview Plaza Drive, Diebold Road and Tonkel Road, INDOT officials announced at a news conference Thursday.

The first one, at Parkview Plaza Drive, could be installed within days if the weather cooperates.

Expect the signals to be up by January, regardless, officials said.

The traffic signal’s configuration will also change a bit.

Currently, a five-section light is at those intersections.

Known in the traffic industry as “the doghouse,” this configuration has a solid red dot atop a set of four lights – a yellow arrow next to a solid yellow signal and a green arrow next to a solid green light are below the red light.

A series of four lights hanging straight down will soon be in place.

In order from top down, it will consist of a red arrow, a yellow arrow, a flashing yellow arrow and a green arrow.

Drivers are to stop on the red arrow, but should be given the flashing yellow arrow within one or two seconds afterward, according to an INDOT statement.

“National research has shown that the (flashing yellow arrow) is more intuitive for left-turning drivers in a ‘protected permissive’ signal than a steady green ball, resulting in fewer crashes and moving traffic more efficiently,” the INDOT statement said.

The intersections where the new signals will appear were chosen partly because of the volume of traffic in the area and partly because of the proximity to INDOT’s Fort Wayne office.

Officials can monitor how the signals are working before implementing more, Schaffer said.

And officials do expect to replace most of the five-section left-turn signals with the yellow flashing turn signals throughout the city in the future.

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