By Sean Wardwell
Killeen Daily Herald
Killeen drivers can expect to see new traffic signals being installed over the coming months, designed to increase safety and driver awareness.
Three of these new signals already are installed at the intersections of State Highway 195 at Elms Road; Rancier Avenue at 38th Street; and Stan Schlueter Loop at Lions Club Park. They become operational today.
The signals contain a flashing yellow arrow to indicate an unprotected left-hand turn, accompanied by a sign reading: "Left turn yield on flashing yellow arrow."
"There are studies by the Federal Highway Administration that say (the signals) improve the safety of a left-hand turn," said George Lueck, Killeen's director of transportation. "(They) allow more traffic to clear the intersection and give drivers a safer indication traffic may be coming from the other direction."
Lueck said the first three signals were paid for by the Texas Department of Transportation but estimated additional signals, which will be installed throughout the city and are now federally mandated for new or old signals in need of replacement, could cost as much as $10,000. There's no time frame on the project's completion, either.
"It could be years. There's no timeline," said Lueck. "We'll absorb the costs for upgrades as the budget allows."
The city will work from an east to west pattern replacing the signals, then address the northern and southern sides, he said.
On the signals, a steady red arrow means no turns allowed. A steady yellow arrow means prepare to stop. A flashing yellow arrow means left turns are allowed, but drivers must yield to oncoming traffic. Finally, a steady green arrow means left turns are allowed.
"We know that the new flashing yellow arrow will take some getting used to, but we expect its flash and the accompanying sign to draw more attention to unprotected left turns and ultimately make drivers more cautious in those very busy intersections," said Hilary Shine, Killeen spokesperson.
For more information, call (254) 501-7600.
Contact Sean Wardwell at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 245-2466. Follow him on Twitter at KDHcity.