Many people will be traveling over the weekend ahead of the July 4 holiday, but there is a new traffic shift along U.S. 74 in Union County that drivers should be aware of.
They are called 'superstreets,' and are popping up along that stretch of road. Several of the new traffic patterns are located along Wesley Chapel Stouts/Sardis Church Road and Faith Church Road.
This is part of a project to convert four full movement, signalized intersections to 'superstreets'
'Superstreets' are a type of intersection where side street traffic is redirected from going straight through or left at a divided highway intersection.
"You can no longer cross over U.S. 74 east or westbound in these certain locations,” said Master Trooper Ray Pierce with the North Carolina Highway Patrol. “Until the community realizes how these traffic patterns are going to work, there will be some confusion.”
Instead, drivers will make right hand turns and then enter a designated U-Turn lane and then turn back toward the direction they need to go.
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According to the North Carolina Department of Transportation, this design improves safety by reducing the chance for intersection crashes and decreases travel time because of simplified traffic signal timing.
“Decent other than the back flow on the U-turn,” said driver, James Mauldin. “It has the potential to have some good benefits on the flow of traffic.”
Other drivers do not agree.
“I think it makes the traffic back up a lot more,” said Patsy Doster. “I have not seen any benefits yet. Maybe it will in the future, but I have not seen them yet.”
For some drivers traveling with large trailers, it is creating bigger problems.
“No, we can’t get gas, we can’t shop on this other side, we can’t get lunch on this side or anything," said Rose McCollough, a driver. “We have to make sure that when we go on the other side, that we get everything from this area because it is going to be a hindrance for us because we are traveling with the trailer.”
Motorists traveling on U.S. 74 wishing to turn left to the side roads will also need to use the U-turn locations for up to six weeks while work at the intersection is completed. Once complete, that will open back up.
“Anytime we have a holiday weekend expect more traffic, expect more delays. Unfortunately, this new traffic pattern is coming into place before a holiday weekend," said Trooper Pierce. "We just encourage drivers to slow down, increase following distance, and give yourself some extra time."
Officials with NCDOT say there are still working with the timing of the lights to minimize traffic congestion.
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