By Dave Lancet, Construction Inspection Group > In March of 2012, our Construction Inspection Group began a first for the company on two levels. This was the first time the company was hired by the Town for consulting services, and this was our first inspection project of “Michigan Left” construction, not only for American Structurepoint, but in the state of Indiana.
In a Michigan Left, the motorist travels through the intersection past their desired left turn, makes a right onto a frontage access, and comes back to the street on which they want to travel. These traffic designs have been in use for over 40 years in Michigan. The project location at the intersection of 96th Street and Allisonville Road was not conducive to the traditional Michigan Left construction, due to right-of-way constraints, so the design team of R.W. Armstrong and A&F Engineering came up with a hybrid proposal consisting of “median U-turns” or “Loons,” as they nicknamed them.
After overcoming several challenges mostly consisting of unknown utility conflicts with the proposed work in the 2012 construction season, we saw the initial activation of the first median U-turn signal located on Allisonville Road at the Sunbeam Development strip mall in March of 2013. The next two loons are scheduled to open to the public in April of 2013, both on north Allisonville Road and on east 96th Street, which will eliminate all of the traditional left-turn movements at the original intersection.
The final loon on west 96th Street will open in May, and the project will reach substantial completion on May 28, 2013. Along with the utility challenges, maintaining two thru lanes and a left-turn lane in each direction during construction posed quite an undertaking and was the reason the project had 16 phases of maintenance-of-traffic plans. Trying to meet the needs of local businesses and residents, as well as passing motorists, has been somewhat challenging, but to date, all have survived with what appears to be minimal impact.
The ultimate goal of this type of intersection is to streamline thru-traffic movements and reduce congestion while creating a safer environment by rerouting traditional left turns. The success of the new signal configuration will be derived from an extensive signal interconnect system, which will allow all of the signals and their timings to communicate with each other, thus facilitating traffic flow.
This project is a partnership with the City of Indianapolis, although it is 100 percent locally funded by the Town of Fishers. The CI Group will push this project to a successful conclusion and help our friends in Fishers celebrate what will become one of the new gateways into their soon-to-be city!