Extra on Getting There: Safest, fastest way to turn left at a busy intersection

By Ryan Harper, Traffic Anchor
Last Updated: Thursday, March 08, 2018, 2:29 PM EST

A new traffic trick may help the Florida Department of Transportation solve one of its biggest questions: What's the safest and fastest way to turn left at a busy intersection?

  • FDOT installing mid-block U-turn in Seminole Co.
  • New feature will help reduce backups, improve pedestrian safety
  • Mid-block U-turn considered interim project of I-4 Ultimate

The answer may sound strange to you, but the solution means eliminating left turns all together at red lights.

FDOT is installing a new form of traffic management in Seminole County this coming fall. It essentially eliminates left turns at the intersection of Rinehart Road and County Road 46-A -- it's called a mid-block U-turn.

"People would actually travel through the intersection if they wanted to make a left there and at the mid-block they would make a U-turn,” said FDOT’s Jessica Ottaviano. “... where you would make the U-turn is actually a signalized area."

This mid-block U-turn is actually considered to be an interim project of a much bigger one: the I-4 Beyond the Ultimate Project.

I-4 Ultimate will eventually add 20 miles to both the eastern western ends of the current project.

“These are going to help surface streets and the interchange at I-4 work together to make traffic flow a lot better here,” Ottaviano explained. “This is new, but it also helps move traffic safely and smoothly better through a busy intersection."

FDOT said this new feature will not only help reduce backups at red lights, but it will also improve pedestrian safety.