Posted: Oct 1, 2012 6:22 PM by Maddie Garrett
Updated: Oct 1, 2012 6:35 PM
If you've driven on US 90 lately, you probably noticed a few changes on how you can turn to either get on the Thruway or or cross over. The new U-Turn system is called a J-Turn, and there are about 13 of them on Hwy 90 now. The J-Turns stretch from Pinhook in Lafayette to Albertson Parkway in Broussard.
Some of the major intersections affected by the J-Turns are:
Pinhook and 90
University and 90
Verot School and 90
Southpark and 90
Morgan and 90
Albertson Pkwy and 90
At some of these intersections, drivers can no longer turn left or even go straight across the highway. The changes probably caught a few drivers off-guard.
"That's what I figured, with all of the construction going on on the interstate, perhaps it was just something to kind of redirect traffic for now. But I'm hearing that it's permanent," said driver Jed Berzas.
Like it or not, drivers don't have much of a choice when it comes to navigating the J-Turns.
"Not sure how I feel about it yet, but I guess we'll see. If it works for them then by all means you know," added Berzas.
"I feel the J-turn is a pretty productive thing they came up with, I mean it helps traffic flow," said another driver, Timothy Trahan.
Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development explained that instead of turning left or going straight across traffic, drivers must turn right and merge with traffic. Then drivers are able to make a U-Turn just down the road, all without ever driving against oncoming traffic.
"It helps to eliminate a lot of those left turn and through movements, said LADOTD Spokesperson Deidra Lockhart. "We eliminate a lot of those crashes that you normally see, whether it's a side collision or some of those severe collisions such as those t-bone type collisions."
Lockhart said J-Turns not only reduce accidents, but travel time as well. Even if it doesn't seem that way, J-Turns can be faster opposed to sitting at a red light.
"When they make that right and they proceed down the road into the open median and make that U-Turn, a lot of times it helps to reduce that travel time as opposed to waiting through a light cycle," explained Lockhart.
Not all J-Turns involve right-turn-only intersections. Several can be found along 90 that allow drivers to simply turn or merge into oncoming traffic. Along with construction of the J-Turns, LADOTD is widening the Thruway, making it a six lane highway instead of four lanes. Construction is supposed to be complete this fall.