Displaced Left Hand Turns Are Coming to Evansville – What Are They and How Do They Work?
The Lloyd Expressway is one of the most heavily-traveled roads in Evansville, despite how much residents complain about it. While it's not without its faults, if you've lived in Evansville your whole life like me, or at least long enough to remember a time when "The Lloyd" didn't exist, you have to admit it makes getting from the west side to the east side and all points in between much easier and quicker. But, there's always room for improvement, right? It depends on who you ask.
INDOT Introducing Displaced Left Turn Lanes to the Lloyd Expressway in Evansville
The biggest gripe about The Lloyd (a.k.a. Highway 62/66) has always been that there are too many stoplights for something considered to be an "expressway." Over the years, the city has worked with the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) to try and alleviate that issue where they can. The most recent work came a few years ago when they removed the stoplight at The Lloyd and Fulton Avenue by redesigning the entire intersection and building a bridge over Fulton which has improved traffic flow in that area.
However, there are still problem intersections along the expressway where traffic can back up quickly, namely the intersection with Burkhardt Road. It's common for drivers at that intersection to run red lights, especially in the left turn lanes in every direction due to people getting impatient with the amount of time it takes to cycle through the lights. It's also not uncommon for drivers turning left from the eastbound Lloyd onto northbound Burkhardt to get stuck in the middle of the intersection thanks to backed-up traffic due to the next stoplight just over 500 feet away. It's especially bad during the holiday shopping season since a number of popular stores are near the intersection. Your best bet that time of year is to avoid the intersection at all costs. If you know, you know.
The facial expression of 99.9% of drivers trying to get through the intersection of The Lloyd and Burkhardt.
INDOT and the City of Evansville are hoping the solution to improving traffic flow in that intersection and others along The Lloyd will be through the construction of "Displaced Left Turns." But what are they and how do they work? When I first saw the plans shared by the TheLloyd4U website, I'll admit I was a bit confused and thought it will only make the intersection more of a nightmare because people will have no idea how to get through it. But, instead of instantly trashing the idea like so many people have on social media, I decided to educate myself on how these funky intersections work before deciding whether or not I think they're a good idea.
Displaced Left Turns and How They Work
Essentially, a displaced left turn replaces a standard left turn lane by pulling drivers looking to make a left turn away from traffic ahead of the intersection they're wanting to turn through. What makes it confusing, and slightly dangerous to be honest, is that the lane cuts across traffic going in the opposite direction. It also requires the addition of two additional stoplights on either side of the intersection. Of course, the last thing The Lloyd needs is more stoplights. But, not everyone will be impacted by all the extra lights. Confused? Let me show you.
Here's what the intersection of The Lloyd and Burkhardt looks like now.
And here's what it will look like once construction of the displaced left turns is finished:
With the new (and improved?) intersection, two lanes of traffic looking to make a left turn will come to a stop at one of the new lights about 600 feet before the intersection. When their light turns green, they'll cross the two lanes of traffic coming in the opposite direction and make their way to the intersection where they'll wait for that light to tell them they can turn. Still confused? Maybe this video from INDOT will explain it better than I can.
I'll be honest, I'm still on the fence about this. I understand the goal, I'm just not sure how well drivers here in Evansville will navigate it, including myself. I guess we'll have to wait and see. The bottom line is, it's going to happen whether we like it or not. But maybe, after some time, we could end up liking it. Time will tell.