FISHERS, Ind. (WISH) - First there were roundabouts. Now drivers in Hamilton County are about to encounter another new concept meant to ease traffic congestion.
They're called median u-turns and the first one in Indiana will open Monday at 96th Street and Allisonville Road in Fishers.
At 1 p.m. Monday, the town of Fishers will open the first of four median u-turns at the intersection and, as a result, eliminate the left turn lane for eastbound traffic on 96th Street.
Drivers heading east who want to go left onto Allisonville will first have to turn right onto Allisonville, then get left and in several hundred feet, make a u-turn at the median traffic signal.
All traditional left turns from other directions at the intersection will stay open until the next phases are complete later this Spring.
Fishers Town Manager Scott Fadness said officials had been looking for options to improve traffic flow there and reduce wait times for more than three years.
- ONLINE EXTRA | View a concept map online
"We give every intersection - the amount of time you wait there - A grade. And currently we're at an F, at 96th and Allisonville," said Fadnesss. "So residents are having to spend an awful lot of time waiting to get through the intersection. Our hope is with this - even 20 years out - you're seeing a significant level of improvement."
The Federal Highway Administration says it's a growing, cost-effective solution in communities across the country.
By reconfiguring the turn lanes, engineers say it eliminates long lines that end up blocking the traffic trying to go straight through the intersection.
Fadness said the town considered several ideas to improve the intersection, but concluded this was the best way to ease congestion, avoid taking nearby businesses, and also the most cost-effective. Fadness said the project will cost about $8 million.
"We looked at concepts up to $25 or $30 million," he said.
Also known as "Michigan lefts," they've long been used in and around Detroit.
This will be Indiana's first.
Some drivers aren't so sure about it.
"That's gonna be crazy!" one man said after learning about the plan.
"I think it's going to be interesting," said Zach Wills. "I live on the northeast corner so I'm open to it, but we'll see if it works."
"Of course anytime you introduce new technology or new ideas you're going to have that," said Fadness. "I think it's like when roundabouts were introduced. People were unfamiliar with those. But I think after a while, people realized this was a pretty efficient way to move traffic."
Thousands of people in Indianapolis were without power early Thursday morning.
Hoosiers saw unbearably cold temperatures Thursday morning.
Mintonye Elementary School may be ready to open in August, but Southwestern Middle School won't be ready. That's the preliminary assessment Superintendent Scott Hanback told the Tippecanoe School Corporation school board Wednesday evening.