MnDOT installs new traffic signals

Published 7:48 pm Saturday, July 27, 2013

New traffic signals at the intersection of U.S. Highway 69, Minnesota Highway 13 and Freeborn County Road 46 are aiming to increase safety for drivers.

The traffic signals, which include a flashing yellow arrow for left turns, were posted Friday at the intersection as part of the resurfacing project on Highway 69.

When illuminated, the flashing yellow arrow allows motorists to turn left after yielding to oncoming traffic and pedestrians, according to a news release from the Minnesota Department of Transportation. The new signals otherwise work the same as traditional signals.

Email newsletter signup

A study conducted by the National Cooperative Highway Research Program determined that drivers had fewer crashes with flashing yellow left-turn arrows than with traditional yield-on-green signals, according to the release. The study showed that drivers found flashing yellow left-turn arrows more understandable than traditional yield-on-green signs.

There are also more opportunities to make a left turn with the flashing yellow left-turn arrow than with the traditional three-arrow, red, yellow and green indications.

The MnDOT website stated the signals provide traffic engineers with more options for handling different traffic volumes.

The Federal Highway Administration authorized the use of flashing arrows nationwide in 2009, and they are now part of MnDOT’s standard design of traffic signals. MnDOT has installed more than 60 systems throughout the state thus far.

MnDOT crews plan to install the new flashing yellow arrow systems on most future traffic signal construction projects.

What the signals mean

• Solid red arrow: Drivers turning left must stop and wait.

• Solid yellow arrow: The left-turn signal is about to change to red and drivers must prepare to turn or stop.

• Flashing yellow arrow: Drivers are allowed to turn left after yielding to oncoming traffic.

• Solid green arrow: Left turns have the right of way.