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Change coming to Clayton intersection

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CLAYTON — The N.C. Department of Transportation will try something new to improve traffic flow at a busy Clayton intersection.

DOT will use what it calls a “dynamic left turn” for drivers turning left from U.S. 70 Business westbound onto Town Centre Boulevard, home to the Walmart-anchored shopping center on the west side of town.

That intersection has two left-turn lanes into the shopping center, and during low-traffic periods, the rightmost left-turn lane will be closed to traffic, with an overhead signal for that lane displaying a red “X” over a black background, the DOT said in a news release.

The leftmost left-turn lane will remain open, and drivers will receive a flashing yellow arrow, allowing them to turn left when it is safe to do so. A protected green arrow will still display occasionally to reduce any backups in that lane, DOT said.

The DOT said it chose a flashing yellow arrow for just one lane instead of two because the leftmost turn lane has a better view of oncoming traffic.

During high-traffic periods, such as rush hours, both turn lanes will be open to traffic, the DOT said. “During these times, a pair of overhead signals will display a white left-turn arrow over a black background to indicate the rightmost left-turn lane is active,” DOT said.

Traffic from both lanes will turn left only under a green arrow, which is the case now.

The video at this link, vimeo.com/380487472, shows how the dynamic lanes will work.

The goal of the change, the agency said, is to keep eastbound traffic from backing up at the intersection.

Joe Milazzo, executive director of the Regional Transportation Alliance, approached the DOT last year with the concept, and Joe Hummer, the department’s top traffic-management engineer, identified two ideal intersections — the one in Clayton and another in Cary, DOT said.

“We are using standard devices to reduce travel delays in a novel way,” Hummer said. “We are basically freeing up this intersection to give more green time for people going straight through it.”

The dynamic left turn in Clayton will make its debut this spring. Message boards will alert drivers in advance of the change.

DOT said it planned to monitor the Clayton intersection to help ensure drivers adjust smoothly to the dynamic left turn lanes.

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