by Bruce A. Smith
Pierce County DOT has announced that a new traffic light configuration will be activated today at the important intersection of 224th and the OK Highway in Graham. Here is their press release:
New traffic signal configuration goes live Dec. 5 at Orting-Kapowsin Highway and 224th Street East
Motorists traveling through the intersection of Orting-Kapowsin Highway and 224th Street East will notice a new traffic signal configuration starting Friday, Dec. 5.
The signal in the eastbound direction on 224th Street East now includes a flashing yellow arrow, which allows motorists to turn left through the intersection if there are adequate gaps between oncoming vehicles. The addition of the flashing yellow arrow improves the capacity of the intersection, while allowing flexibility for drivers to continue making a left-hand turn during the flashing yellow arrow portion of the signal.
“While we have been trying out flashing yellow arrows at various locations over the past year, this signal configuration is different in that the flashing yellow arrow and solid yellow arrow share the middle section in a three-section signal head,” said Rory Grindley, Pierce County Public Works and Utilities traffic engineer. “The new configuration was recently permitted for use on a trial basis by the Federal Highway Administration, and Pierce County is one of the first in the state to have received formal permission to install it.”
The typical flashing yellow arrow is located between the solid yellow light and the green light in a four-section traffic signal head.
This change is the latest in a series of minor safety improvements Pierce County has completed at the intersection, which also include restriping the west leg of the intersection to add an eastbound left-turn pocket.
Pierce County previously installed flashing yellow arrow traffic signals at Gem Heights Drive East and 184th Street East, 94th Avenue East and 136th Street East, and Woodland Avenue East and 128th Street East.