Highway Department Discusses Solutions For Mall Traffic

May 1, 2007 - Posted at 6:34 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO-Just a mention of traffic near the Mall of Turtle Creek will get a quick response from motorists.

"It's terrible!"

"It's pretty well busy all the time."

"Congested. That's what it is, congested!"

So, the city has been looking at options to improve the flow of traffic on some of its busiest roadways.

Two options are synchronizing red lights and adding a continuous flow intersection.

"Continuous flow is only for one intersection, whereas synchronizing the signals is moving traffic in a sequence from one point, to another, to another," said Amin Ulkarim, Jonesboro's Transportation Study Director.

Synchronizing lights costs between $500 and $3,000 per intersection, but it could reduce travel time by as much as 13% in cities equivalent to the size of Jonesboro.

However, for intersections where traffic seems to sit still more than it moves, there's other plans in the works.

The city is looking at a new concept known as a continuous flow intersection.

"At most intersections the delay is caused by left turn lanes. Left turn traffic has to stop to let the traffic move. When left hand traffic moves there is traffic building up on the crossroads," said Ulkarim.

In the concept the left hand turn lanes are designed to allow motorists to make left hand turns at the same time as traffic moving parallel.

This eliminates the typical turn lanes that make oncoming traffic sit still.

However, this concept is still being explored by the city and the state.

Meanwhile, signal synchronization is something the city can go forward with.

"Signal synchronization, whether we do continuous flow intersections is needed here, and it has a different type of impact," said Ulkarim.

Jonesboro hopes to re-synch the red lights in about six months.

As far as the construction of a new continuous flow intersection, it would take about six months to complete once approved.

One city with a continuous flow intersection is Baton Rouge.

If you would like to view a live look at the traffic at that intersection, just click the link below.

Story ideas or comment?  Email Will at wcarter@kait8.com.