Motorists traveling at Kuykendahl and Louetta roads will get some relief this summer when the changeable lane assignment signal system goes into effect.
A joint participation project between Harris County and the Texas Department of Transportation, improvements to the intersection include right turn lanes and modified left turn lanes at that intersection, said Pamela Rocchi, director of the capital improvement projects division for Harris County Precinct 4.
The signals will also allow lane assignments to change with the traffic patterns for better intersection management, Rocchi said, allowing for about 50 cars to pass through the intersection in one signal.
Rocchi said Harris County had previously recognized the intersection as congested and had to develop an innovative way to improve the intersections because of right-of-way constraints due to existing developments along the roadways.
"We had limited options of what we could do because of the right of way constraints," she said.
The precinct has researched the problem since 1998, and it came up with a two-step course of action, Rocchi said. The first began in February 2009 with improvements, including adding a third lane to each leg of the intersection.
The second phase was the installation of the changeable lane assignment signal system, of which TxDOT managed the installation. The signals were installed last October with the idea that the "through" arrow would be functional so people would become familiar with it, Rocchi said. The arrow became visible at the beginning of April.
Rocchi said there is typically a 30- to 60-day transition between when the arrow becomes visible and when TxDOT changes the lane assignments. She estimates the agency will wait until June to implement the changeable lanes.
"This type of innovation represents a savings to taxpayers," Precinct 4 Commissioner Jack Cagle said. "Instead of increasing the number of lanes of traffic, we can utilize this technology to make the most efficient use of turn lanes as dictated by real-time traffic conditions. We are always looking for ways to address our increasing traffic with methods that are faster, cheaper and better."