Per federal guidelines, Kingsport installs flashing arrows traffic signal

Matthew Lane • Apr 30, 2013 at 1:24 AM

KINGSPORT — Another first for the Model City.

When work wraps up at the intersection of Clinchfield and Sullivan streets in the next couple of weeks, motorists will be seeing something different on the traffic signals — a flashing yellow arrow.

All thanks to new Federal Highway Administration guidelines, said Tim Elsea, Kingsport’s traffic engineer.

“The new signals offer a safer, more efficient way to handle traffic turning left at busy intersections,” Elsea said. “The signals are being introduced nationwide as a result of a national study, conducted for the Federal Highway Administration, that showed they help prevent crashes, move more traffic through intersections and provide additional traffic management flexibility.”

The signals are placed over left-turn lanes at intersections with one being a flashing-yellow arrow. Other display options include a steady-green arrow, steady-yellow arrow and steady-red arrows, with the flashing yellow arrow replacing the now outdated green orb. The steady yellow displays just prior to turning to a red arrow.

“When the flashing-yellow arrow is displayed, motorists are allowed to turn left when there are gaps in oncoming traffic or no pedestrians in the intersection,” Elsea said. “Motorists may also turn left as normally when a green arrow is displayed and oncoming traffic has stopped. They should not turn left when the red left-turn arrow is displayed.”

Because the new signals will be required by the FHA in the future, motorists will see the same left-turn-arrow signals across the country, rather than the different configurations that are used from community to community. Kingsport will continue adding these flashing yellow arrows as hardware and infrastructure is updated.

The signals should go live as the current phase of the Sullivan Street project wraps up in the next 10 to 14 days, Elsea said.

For more information go to Kingsport’s website www.kingsporttn.gov and look for the signal head under “City News”. The link will provide a You Tube video and other information on the functionality of the signal head. Residents may also call the Kingsport Traffic Department at 229-9487.

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