(KCPW News) The Utah Department of Transportation says it’s found a way to improve traffic flow on some streets, decrease excessive delays and enhance safety for motorists and pedestrians by eliminating left turns. UDOT will begin work Monday on the state’s first Thru Turn Intersection at 123rd South and State Street, where drivers sometimes wait two minutes to move through during peak traffic. UDOT Spokesman Adan Carrillo says it essentially encourages U turns, but makes them safer.
“Instead of people having to wait for the left turn, they basically go through the intersection and then take a U-turn pretty much three to five hundred feet down the road,” he says. “Then, they come back through the intersection and they make a safer right turn movement, which in a lot of cases people are doing already.”
Carrillo says eliminating left turns reduces the risk of right-angle crashes.
“Because that intersection is so busy, what tends to happen sometimes is people tend to get frustrated or tired of waiting to or three, sometimes four green cycles to just go through the intersection that they’ll tend to even run the red light as they make their left turns because they don’t want to wait any longer,” says Carrillo.
He says Utah got the idea from Michigan left turns, which he says have worked well for years. Carrillo says UDOT plans to construct more Thru Turns in the future, planning on 5400 South and 4015 West, and 7800 South and Bangerter Highway.