COLUMBIA CITY — The Indiana Department of Transportation announces plans to construct a new turn system on US 30 in Whitley County that is being established along other Indiana highways.
The new traffic arrangement, Reduced Conflict Intersection, is being heralded by the state for helping reduce accidents involving cross-traffic on highways.
The newest RCI is planned for US 30 near Coesse in Whitley County.
Changes to the highway will take place on US 30 at the intersection with CR 500E and construction is scheduled to start on or after July 6.
When work starts, the driving lane in each direction will be closed for approximately one week for the construction of right turn lanes onto South CR 500 E. Following the completion of that work, the passing lane in each direction will close for the construction of the RCI. There is a speed limit of 50 mph and a width limit of 12 feet in the work zone.
Work on the RCI is expected to end by early August. All work is weather-dependent and schedules are subject to change.
How they work
RCIs, also known as J-turns, prevent motorists from crossing the highway directly at specifically redesigned intersections. Instead, motorists turn right onto the highway and then turn around in an approved median crossing nearby.
Nationwide, statistics show a more than 50% decline in crashes where RCIs are installed. Fatal crashes decline by as much as 85%, according to a news release from INDOT.
In June 2015, INDOT opened its first RCI at U.S. 41 and State Road 114 in Northwest Indiana. From 2008-2015, the intersection averaged four crashes a year with almost 40% of those reported as injury crashes, including one fatality. In the first year of operation for the RCI, the intersection experienced one minor crash, and no injuries or fatalities.
In 2011, INDOT widened U.S. 231 in Spencer County to four lanes, and for the first three years, there were at least four deaths and nine injuries at the intersections with SR 62 and SR 68. Since the intersections were converted to RCIs in the summer of 2016, crash rates have dropped significantly overall, with zero new fatal crashes.
You can read more about Reduced Conflict Intersections here: https://www.in.gov/indot/3660.htm.