New traffic light causing driver confusion in South Hadley

Flashing yellow arrow installed on Route 33 North

SOUTH HADLEY, Mass, (WWLP) – A new flashing yellow arrow has been added to the traffic light at the intersection of Route 33 and Route 202 in South Hadley.

According to MassDOT, the flashing yellow arrow has been extensively tested and approved by the Federal Highway Administration as a safer alternative to the traditional left turn arrow. The traditional left turn arrow usually goes from a steady green arrow, to a steady yellow arrow, and finally to a steady green light, requiring drivers to yield to oncoming traffic before turning.

MassDOT says crashes often occur when a driver preparing to turn left sees a steady green light and forgets or does not understand that they must yield to oncoming traffic.

South Hadley Police Chief Steve Parentella told 22News it will take some getting used to, but eventually it will improve the flow of traffic through the congested intersection.
The intersection itself is getting a re-design.

The intersection is getting a new road surface, new road signs and markers, improved pedestrian access, bicycle lanes and no more medians. According to the DOT’s website the project is about 30% complete and it is expected to be done this summer.