Plano Intersection's Left Turns Go Yankee

Tired of left-turn traffic backups, the Plano City Council voted Monday to redesign a major intersection.

The council approved more than $1 million to build a "Michigan left turn" at the intersection of Preston Road and Legacy Drive.

The redesign will allow continue to allow drivers to make right-hand turns in the intersection itself. But people seeking to make a left will do so in a special lane cut through the middle of a median on a divided highway.

The new intersection will allow traffic to continue moving without waiting for a light or causing major traffic tie-ups that sometimes cause bad driver decisions.

"They're impatient, trying to wait for the acceptable gap in traffic. It's compounded by people behind them pressuring them through the intersection," said Lloyd Neal, Plano's transportation engineer.

Nearly every driver has experienced it: Sitting at the light at a busy intersection, waiting for the drivers ahead to make a left. The line of cars grows, and the traffic gaps get tighter and tighter.

Like nearly every driver, David Rivera, who works in Plano, said he has experienced it at Preston Road and Legacy Drive.

"Traffic is bad, especially since they're doing the 121, and now a lot of traffic is coming through here," he said.

The Preston Road and Legacy Drive redesign will cost $1.2 million. The "shovel-ready" project will be paid for by federal stimulus money.

Plano resident Kimberly Worley said she was concerned the construction will just make traffic worse.

"I don't think the traffic tie-ups are severe enough to justify the construction, you know, and all the headaches that that will cause," she said.

But Neal said the six months of construction will be short-term pain in exchange for the long-term gain of shortening commutes, limiting emissions and cutting back on road rage.

"Air quality is improved, people's tempers are minimized, and everyone seems to be more of a happy camper," he said.

Click here to read more about Michigan Lefts.

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