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March 29, 2017

Chandler installing more flashing yellow left turn signals

By the end of the year, the majority of all Chandler intersections with turn arrows will be equipped with a flashing yellow left turn signal. A federal grant for $633,281 is funding 77percent of the cost to add the signals to 59 intersections. Fourteen Chandler intersections currently use the flashing yellow turn arrows.

“We’ve been testing these signals since 2010 as a way to improve intersection safety and reduce traffic delays,” said Mike Mah, Chandler’s transportation engineer. “We’ve found that drivers appreciate not having to wait on a red arrow, especially when there is no oncoming traffic.”

The arrows are approved by the Federal Highway Administration and have been shown in studies to heighten driver awareness when turning left in front of oncoming traffic. They also provide more opportunities to make left turns at intersections than with the traditional left turn arrows.

“One of the key advantages of flashing yellow arrows is that we are able to change the signal operation by time-of-day,” Mah said. “This means we can prohibit left turns on a green ball during rush hour, but allow left turns on a flashing yellow arrow at night or during off-peak hours.”

The City has been collecting and studying crash statistics for three years “before” and three years “after” each installation. Study results indicate that, on average, left turn crashes dropped 22 percent from 2.6 crashes per year to 2.0 crashes per year. Total intersection crashes also dropped 22 percent from 11.1 crashes per year to 8.7 crashes per year.    

Installation will involve replacing and/or adding more than 400 new signal heads and replacing more than 100 signal mast arms at various locations. The work is being performed by Roadway Electric, LLC, and is to begin in early April and take approximately eight months to complete.