Kane County’s Division of Transportation is putting in place a comprehensive Randall Road safety improvement plan that will use a different kind of signalization aimed at reducing the number of accidents at some of Kane County’s most-dangerous intersections — and it’s coming around sooner than you might think.
This year, stoplight intersections on Randall Road between Fabyan Parkway and Silver Glen Road — from Geneva to southern South Elgin— will get flashing yellow arrow lights. The lights have been “tried and proven to reduce collisions and increase safety at all locations where they have been implemented,” according to the KDOT website.
Kane County drivers could see some construction activity as soon as late spring. Tentatively, the first lights could be up and running as soon as July, but Kane County Traffic Permit Engineer Stephen Zulkowski emphasizes that the schedule depends on a lot of factors.
To improve safety, the county will install a traffic signal display over each turn lane. That will require removal and replacement of traffic-signal mast arms, signal heads, foundations and sidewalk and curb and gutter removal.
The contract was awarded to Thorne Electric, Inc. of Carol Stream, with a proposed contract amount of $1.72 million, which is approximately 7.9 percent below the engineer’s estimate of $1.87 million. The project is primarily funded with federal safety funds with Kane County’s anticipated cost participation at $316,462.
The contractors most likely will do the work at off-peak travel times between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., and the contractors are required to provide “safe and reasonable traffic control during construction activities.” That said, municipalities also are likely to provide personnel on site to aid in traffic control.
Between now and spring, part of Kane County’s job is to communicate with drivers how the yellow lights work so drivers know what to expect once the lights are up. There’s a really good video at the bottom of this article that explains that, so be sure to check it out.
“The flashing yellow more intuitively conveys to drivers their need to yield when executing a permissive left turn,” Zulkowski said.
How the Lights Work
Basically, each left-turn lane will have a red arrow, a steady yellow arrow, a flashing yellow arrow and a flashing green arrow.
Interval 1: Steady Green Arrow
- When the arrow is green, drivers can turn left. Oncoming traffic has a red light.
Interval 2: Steady Yellow Arrow
- When the steady yellow arrow is lit, drivers should prepare to stop or complete the turn if legally in the intersection.
Interval 3: Steady Red Arrow
- When the arrow is red, drivers in the left-turn lane must stop.
Interval 4: Flashing Yellow Arrow
- When the arrow is flashing yellow, drivers may turn left after yielding to traffic and pedestrians. Oncoming traffic has a green light, so use caution when turning left during a flashing yellow arrow.
Randall Road, between Fabyan Parkway and Silver Glen Road, has been selected as a beneficiary of federal funds set aside for the purposes of increasing the safety of the roadway and its roadway users.
These federal funds are part of a program called the Highway Safety Improvement Program or HSIP.
This program is locally coordinated and administered through the Illinois Department of Transportation. The selection of beneficiaries in this program is generally focused on projects with proposed improvements achieving the best return on investment or a Benefit / Cost ratio. This project is expected to begin construction in early summer 2015.
The county is actively pursuing more projects and locations associated with the HSIP program.
Proposed Improvements for Randall Road (Fabyan Parkway to Silver Glen Road)
- Flashing Yellow Arrow – Traffic Signal Operation
- Better Traffic Signal Head Placement and Visibility
- Driver Feedback Speed Limits Signs
Flashing Yellow Arrow
Flashing Yellow Arrows have been tried and proven to reduce collisions and increase safety at all locations where they have been implemented. A Flashing Yellow Arrow operates the same as a solid green ball for left turns. The difference is that the flashing yellow arrow better conveys to drivers the need to yield to both oncoming traffic and pedestrians that may be crossing. Operationally, left turning traffic will traverse the intersection in the same way, but the signal displays will convey the information more intuitively.
For a better understanding of this improvement, please view the below publications:
- IDOT District 4 – Informational Brochure PDF
- IDOT District 4 – Informational Video on FYA Operation
- Michigan DOT – Informational Video on FYA Operation
Better Traffic Signal Head Placement and Visibility
Engineering practice and professional guidelines have allowed for traffic signals to be designed where traffic signal heads could be shared between travel lanes and turn lanes or be located several feet to your left or right on the far side of an intersection. Although this practice has worked over the years, research and case studies have shown improved safety associated with placing one traffic signal head per travel lane in the center of each travel lane / turn lane.
These improvements will involve the replacement of existing traffic signal mast arms to allow for the signal heads to be mounted in the safer location. Examples of this signal head placement can be seen at the intersection of Randall Road and Fabyan Parkway and Randall Road and Saddle Club Parkway.
A graphical representation of the proposed improvements is below:
- The KDOT home page and related sections have now been updated to include This project’s information.