INDIANAPOLIS — Central Indiana drivers are accustomed to roundabouts, diverging diamonds and even the Michigan left, but motorists will soon have to contend with another intersection design: the "displaced left turn."
The displaced left turn intersection is part of a $4.5 million project now under construction at U.S. 31 and Thompson Road on the south side, according to the Indiana Department of Transportation. Construction began in spring of 2021.
Under the design, left-turning drivers will move into special traffic-signal controlled turn-only lanes well before they actually reach the intersection and make the turn. The design keeps more left-turning cars moving instead of waiting to turn when the lights are green.
"This configuration moves the left-turn conflict out of the intersection and synchronizes it with the signal cycle of the intersecting road," INDOT said in a diagram that was part of a 56-page environmental study. "In the same way as a regular intersection, all traffic flow is controlled by traffic signals."
Greenwood resident Charles Tashiro told WRTV he drives through the intersection almost everyday. Tashiro says he's concerned drivers will find it hard to adjust to the displaced left turn.
"I’m all about new ideas and improving traffic flow, but this is confounding," Tashiro said. "Personally, I think this design is going to make a FUBAR out of an already FUBAR intersection."
According to the Federal Highway Administration, displaced left turn intersections are safer and move more vehicles than a typical intersection.
Contact WRTV reporter Vic Ryckaert at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter: @vicryc.