New turn lane rules at intersection cause driver confusion - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

New turn lane rules at intersection cause driver confusion

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JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - At the intersection of Harrisburg Road and Highland Drive, there is a little confusion when it comes to turn lanes.

One of the turn lanes has changed, but drivers have not changed their habits.

"The first time I did not notice it. I didn't feel like it was signed very well. When my dad brought it to my attention, I did notice it," a driver said.

"Actually, I didn't notice it. Yesterday, one of my co-workers informed me of it," a driver said. 

The intersection used to have two dedicated left-turn lanes onto Highland from Harrisburg. As of several weeks ago, there is only one. The other lane is for right turns or traffic going straight into the parking lot of an auto parts store.

Drivers are split on the intersection change.

"I think this should be a two-lane turn," a driver said. "It's wide enough to be, yeah. And I think the traffic was flowing a lot better when it was two lanes."

"I like this way better, I guess, because it increases the flow of traffic going to the right. Everybody doesn't have to sit and wait for the people going left," a driver said.

Jonesboro traffic operations engineer Mark Nichols said that was the city's goal. After complaints from drivers, the city took action to make the intersection more efficient. 

"A lot of people wanna turn right and a single vehicle turning left in the right-hand lane blocks all right-turn traffic. So we made the change to increase efficiency in that area," Nichols said.

However, many drivers' bad habit of turning left in the right lane has almost caused accidents.

"Unfortunately, if users use it incorrectly, it punishes the person doing it correctly. But, also, if you use it incorrectly, you're liable if there's an accident," Nichols said.

"I would think that it needs a different sign or some way of telling someone it's changed," a driver said.

There are currently three new signs and new pavement paint to notify drivers of the change.

"We feel like we have enough signs in place, but we're gonna add two more. And then, hopefully, that will solve some of the confusion," Nichols said.

Nichols said it will just take time for drivers to adjust.  

"I've received multiple reports where maybe they didn't recognize the change till after they went through the intersection two or three times. So changes like this take a little time. It's been two, two and a half weeks and so we feel like we need to give it a little more time," Nichols said.

The Jonesboro Police Department understands that. Doug Formon with JPD said police will issue warnings to these accidental law breakers for the time being. 

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