A new kind of traffic signal is getting its debut in Cobb as part of an effort to improve safety on county roads.
The left-turn signal, called a flashing yellow arrow, will become operational next Wednesday at the intersection of Cooper Lake Road and East-West Connector.
The device has four phases: a steady red arrow, a steady yellow arrow, a flashing yellow arrow and a steady green arrow. The flashing yellow arrow indicates to left-turning traffic to first yield to oncoming traffic before turning.
David Montanye, operations division manager for the Cobb Department of Transportation, said the reason behind installing the new light is to improve safety, since there have been a high number of crashes for westbound vehicles turning left at that intersection.
This is Cobb’s first flashing yellow arrow signal and, as far as Montanye knows, the second in Georgia, with the city of Johns Creek already using one.
Montanye said the cost of building a traditional signal from the ground up and one with the flashing yellow light is about the same, typically $150,000. A signal with the flashing yellow light display may cost slightly more where a longer mast arm may be required, he said.
County Chairman Tim Lee called it a new technology that’s gaining support across the country.
“It’s like a roundabout,” Lee said. “The first time you go through, it seems uncomfortable, but after you’ve done it once or twice, you fit right into the groove.”
Lee said he believes it will increase safety.
“I’m glad to see us moving toward that technology because I think it’s a clearer way to ensure increased safety at intersections,” Lee said. “So I think it’s a step in the right direction … at those intersections where a left turn could be a conflict with ongoing traffic.”
The Cooper Lake Road project cost about $60,000 and included replacing a mast arm and upgrading the traffic signal cabinet, which was needed as a part of a general upgrade, Montanye said.
The county plans to request approval from the Georgia Department of Transportation for two more locations, on Dallas Highway at The Avenue West Cobb and at Casteel Road, pending approval from the Cobb Board of Commissioners. The process may take a few months, Montanye said.
The Cobb Department of Transportation maintains 540 traffic signals throughout the county.