MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The Alabama Department of Transportation is in the final phases of its construction project on Chantilly Parkway that has dramatically changed the traffic patterns in the area.
"In a 30 month period there were 110 crashes," explained Brantley Kirk, Public Information Officer for ALDOT.
Up to 40,000 vehicles travel through the Chantilly Parkway corridor every day. ALDOT officials believe the changes will ease congestion.
"It also increases capacity and improves travel times," Kirk said.
Concrete barriers are now in place preventing left turns onto or off of Boyd Cooper Parkway.
"Boyd Cooper Parkway is now a right-in, right-out only. You cannot make a left turn in or out," Kirk described.
Kirk added that only traffic coming off of I-85 North has access to turn right onto Boyd Cooper Parkway from Chantilly Parkway. All other traffic must continue down Chantilly Parkway, and turn right onto Eastchase Parkway to get back around to Boyd Cooper.
Concrete Barriers also prevent left turns from Chantilly Parkway onto Highway 126. To access Highway 126, or to get on I-85 from Boyd Cooper Parkway, drivers must use a new protected u-turn, also known as an indirect left, no in place at the intersection of Chantilly Parkway and Eastchase Parkway.
"It's a very wide turn, but it's a dedicated, protected lane for you to make that u-turn safely," Kirk explained, asking drivers not to make a small u-turn in the middle of the road.
Indirect lefts have been installed throughout the country, including U.S. Hwy 280 in Birmingham. In North Carolina, there has been an approximately 31 percent reduction in all crashes and 51 percent reduction in fatal/injury crashes where indirect lefts have been installed.
Intersections with indirect lefts have less congestion, as they provide 20 to 50 percent greater capacity than direct left-turns. They reduce average delays incurred by left-turning vehicles and through-traffic.
New flashing yellow turn signals have also been installed. It's the first time ALDOT has used them in Montgomery, but several have been operating in Baldwin County, Birmingham, and Huntsville.
A flashing yellow arrow indicates that left turns are permitted after yielding to oncoming traffic and pedestrians. "Wait until oncoming traffic has cleared before you make that turn," Kirk warned.
New signs are up on the off-ramp of I-85 North at the Chantilly Parkway exit, directing drivers. "Those far left two lanes, those are now left turn only lanes," said Kirk. "That far right lane is a right-only if you want to go towards Chantilly or you need to go to 126."
There is some work left to be done. ALDOT will paint permanent directional signs on the road in the next couple of weeks. Crews plan to install fiber optic cables underground to connect and sync traffic signals to each other and traffic flow.
ALDOT has been working on this project since June 2016.