The new signals at State Highway 80 and State Highway 119 in Gillett and at State Highway 80 and Farm-to-Market Road 81 in Helena replace stop signs on State Highway 119 and Farm-to-Market Road 81. Other operational improvements at the intersections include the addition of left turn lanes and improvements to right turn lanes.
“After reviewing the increase in traffic volumes and crash reports the decision was made to install traffic signals and to make other improvements to improve safety and to move traffic more efficiently at these intersections,” said Ismael Soto, P.E., traffic operations engineer for TxDOT’s Corpus Christi District.
Motorists also will notice new features on the signals. For example, prior to the signal turning red, drivers approaching the intersection on State Highway 80 will see a sign displaying the message: Be prepared to stop. And rumble strips have been installed in the travel lanes to alert motorists to the newly signalized intersections.
“The improvements at these intersections are significant. Motorists are urged to slow down and use caution as people become aware of the new signals and adjust their driving habits,” said Will Lockett, P.E., area engineer for TxDOT’s Karnes office.
One of the advanced features of the new traffic signals is a flashing yellow, left-turn arrow. The flashing yellow arrow indicates drivers can make a left turn when there is no oncoming traffic.
Here’s how the ne, left-turn signal works:
Red Arrow: Stop. Do not make a left turn.
Solid Yellow Arrow: Left-turn signal is about to turn red. Prepare to stop. Complete your left turn only if you are in the intersection and it is safe. Oncoming traffic may have a green light.
Flashing Yellow Arrow: Left turn permitted, but drivers must yield to oncoming traffic and proceed with caution.
Green Arrow: Safe to turn left. Oncoming traffic has red light.