TAYLORSVILLE — As many of us can attest to, change is not always easy. In fact, it can be a little frustrating.
You may remember that a couple weeks ago, UDOT introduced an innovative traffic system aimed at reducing gridlock on 5400 South in Taylorsville. 40,000 cars travel the road every day, and maddening traffic jams have been the norm.
Flex lanes, as they're called, cut traffic jams by alternating the direction of an extra lane during peak hours in the morning and the evening.
UDOT is already adjusting the system to make it simpler.
Overhead lights indicate the direction for each lane. Eastbound drivers get an extra lane in the morning; westbound motorists get an extra lane in the evening. During off-peak hours, each direction gets three lanes, with a center turn lane.
"We did anticipate there would be tweaks as we turned the system on, and we're constantly learning as we monitor the system closely," said project manager Brandon Weston.
Nov. 7, Flex Lanes were activated after a testing period that gave motorists a chance to get used to them.
We did anticipate there would be tweaks as we turned the system on, and we're constantly learning as we monitor the system closely.
–Brandon Weston, project manager
"I just feel like people get more confused and frustrated with the flex lanes, really," said motorist Kaila Fambrough.
There is a lot going on, and UDOT discovered the LED lights are so bright that they outshined the traffic signals at the intersections, leading to confusion. So, shortly after activating the system, UDOT turned off the green lights closest to the intersections on the outer two lanes.
"We turned these lights off to try to highlight the intersection lights," Weston said.
UDOT also decided that those outer green arrows are redundant because they always point in the direction of traffic. UDOT will take those darkened indicators down in the next few weeks.
"I would just encourage people to slow down as they get used to it," Weston said. "Make sure you're in the right lane. Be cognizant that the left turn lane does change based on the configuration. Just take some time until you're comfortable with it."