HOBART - Back in driver's education, you may have learned about U-turns and Y-turns, but a new turn with a different letter will soon be added to our driving dictionary. It's called a J-turn.
The Department of Transportation believes it's a safer way for drivers to cross busy divided multi-lane highways.
The new J-turn will be located on Highway 29 and County VV in Brown County.
It's just one phase of the $12 to 17 million Highway 29 reconstruction project.
From 2006 to 2009, there were 68 vehicle crashes at intersections along Highway 29 from Green Bay west to the Brown County line.
The Department of Transportation hopes this new design at one of those intersections will help reduce that number.
At the intersection of Highway 29 and County VV, Matthew Nurczyk says he's had plenty of close calls.
"I've nearly gotten hit a couple times in the last four months. People just not watching what they're doing, trying to beat the traffic, not paying attention," said Nurczyk of Pulaski.
The DOT says in a four-year stretch, there have been 26 crashes at the intersection. Construction on a J-turn begins next month.
The DOT provided video to show how it works. Traffic from the side roads is restricted. Vehicles will no longer be able to directly cross Highway 29.
"We would not allow left turns from County VV, Milltown, and Marley, onto Highway 29. However we would still allow the movement, and left turns from Highway 29 onto those side streets," said Jeremy Ashauer, DOT project manager.
Vehicles will have to make right turns onto Highway 29.
"We restrict the access at the intersection itself; however, we have a U-turn area about a quarter mile down the road on Highway 29 that allows the opportunity for drivers to change direction," said Ashauer.
Ashauer says eliminating traffic through the median will lead to fewer crashes.
"The intersection today has 42 conflict points, 24 are right-angle crashes, which are typically most severe. By doing a J-turn, we can take the right angle crashes down to four," said Ashauer.
Drivers say it may take getting used to, but...
"I'd have to see it to fully get the picture, but I mean, if it makes it safer, I mean, go for it," said Loren Passehl of Pittsfield.
"I think it's a trade-off. When you're talking about overall efficiency of all of the traffic and by far, a safer way of handling those kinds of intersections, it's the best thing to do," said Capt. Randy Schultz, Brown County Sheriff's Office.
So does it work? The DOT says in the year since a J-turn was constructed in Northwest Wisconsin, crashes went from an average of four a year, to zero.
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