Flashing Yellow Arrow Traffic Signals Coming To Wilmington

BOSTON, MA — The Massachusetts Department of Transportation announced [yesterday] it is launching a statewide program to retrofit approximately 350 traffic signals on state highway around Massachusetts.

Installation of upgraded signal technology began Aug. 3 at seven intersections in Wilmington as part of the retrofit project. The seven intersections in Wilmington are the following:

  • Main Street and Church Street
  • Main Street and Richmond Street
  • Main Street and MBTA Wilmington Station driveway
  • Main Street and Clark Street
  • Concord Street and Woburn Street
  • Main Street and Lowell Street
  • Ballardvale Street and southbound Interstate 93 ramps.

The signal heads have four left-turn arrows including one steady red arrow, indicating that left turns are prohibited; one steady yellow arrow, indicating the signal is changing from green to red; a new, flashing yellow arrow, indicating that drivers can proceed with left turns after yielding to oncoming vehicles; and one steady green arrow, indicating left turns are permitted.

“The flashing yellow arrow is an enhanced indicator to drivers that they must yield the right of way to oncoming traffic. Drivers with the flashing yellow arrow can still turn left, but only when it is safe to do so,” said MassDOT Highway Administrator Thomas J. Tinlin. “Through the use of this new technology, we’re confident the turning movements will be clearer to drivers, and the intersection will be safer as a result.”

On Jan. 15, 2013, MassDOT installed flashing yellow arrow signal heads at the intersection of Holmes Road and Pittsfield Road in Lenox. This was the first instance where this technology was employed in Massachusetts. Since its installation, the high-crash intersection has experienced a precipitous decline in crashes.

In December 2014, MassDOT rolled out the second use of flashing yellow arrow signal technology in Littleton at the intersection of Great Road and King Street.

The statewide retrofit project will be rolled out over multiple phases. The first phase, which will cover 144 cities and towns across Massachusetts through four separate contracts, will also entail the upgrading and replacement of traffic control timing equipment, signal posts and mounts, cables and signage. The first phase is estimated to cost $2.2 million and is expected to be complete by mid-July 2017. MassDOT’s contractor for the first phase is Siemens Industries Inc.

The use of this kind of signal is gaining traction in other states and has grown in popularity by continually demonstrating that it is a proven safety measure. According to research funded by the Federal Highway Administration, left-turn crashes on average were reduced by about 20 percent after the installation of this type of signal display.

More information on Flashing Yellow Arrow is available HERE.

(NOTE: The above was submitted by the  Massachusetts Department of Transportation.)

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