Smart traffic lights coming 3 Texarkana intersections | Transportation
Three Texarkana intersections will soon get smarter traffic lights which can adapt their signal patterns to match the current flow of traffic.
In September, the Texas Department of Transportation approved the new traffic system. The new lights will replace the current signals at US 71 (State Line Avenue) at West 41st/East 35th Street, US 71 (State Line Avenue) at College Drive, and Hwy 93 (South Lake Drive) at 4th Street.
“All the signal lights will be installed on new mast arms and will have new computerized video detection systems that will detect vehicles approaching the intersection and change the signal accordingly to improve traffic flow,” said Carlos Ibarra, district traffic engineer for TxDOT in Atlanta. “We will also be making pedestrian improvements by adding wheel chair accessible ramps and buttons to push to change the signals so pedestrians can cross the highways.”
There will be something new at each location that local motorists may have not seen before—a flashing yellow arrow light. The protected left-turn signals will have a green arrow, a flashing yellow arrow, a steady yellow arrow and a red arrow.
“A steady green arrow means motorists can safely make a left turn as oncoming traffic has a red light. A flashing yellow arrow means left turns are allowed, but turning motorists must yield to oncoming traffic which now has a green light. A steady yellow arrow means prepare to stop, and a steady red arrow, of course, means stop,” Ibarra said.
The flashing yellow arrow replaces the solid green ball light which meant the same thing, but sometimes confused drivers who thought they still had a protected left turn.
The flashing yellow arrow signals are the result of a nationwide study by the Federal Highway Administration that amended the federal standards for left-turn signals. All future installations and upgrades at intersections with left-turn signals will feature this new innovation.
Highway Intelligent Traffic Systems Corporation of Lancaster, Tex., was awarded the contract for these traffic control projects with a low bid of $366,673. A portion of the cost for the signal upgrades on US 71 will be paid for by the Arkansas Department of Highways and Transportation and the City of Texarkana, Ark.
Work on the projects should begin in December of this year and take about six months to complete, Ibarra said.