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Right turns getting easier


Some Greenley Road drivers will soon move to the far right — of the road, that is.

The Sonora City Council has authorized changing the flow of southbound traffic — again — where it intersects with Mono Way.

City Engineer Gerard Fuccillo told council members at their Tuesday night meeting about complaints on the three southbound lanes — none of which is a dedicated right-turn lane for westbound drivers.

Fuccillo also said he's observed the traffic flow since Phase 1 of the Mono Way-Greenley Road widening project was completed Jan. 29 and found "quite a bit more right-turning traffic than through traffic."

Most drivers make left turns, he said, and a dual-left lane is still necessary. But more people turn right than go straight, which causes a backup that could be relieved with new "laning," as the engineer put it.

The council in January 2002 followed a traffic consultant's study that found the current lane configurations — two dedicated left-turn lanes and a third lane for through traffic and right turns — would be the most efficient.

City Administrator Greg Applegate described the engineering report as a starting point for the city to find out what traffic pattern works best at the busy intersection. Once Sonora Regional Medical Center opens this summer on Greenley Road, the configuration could undergo another change depending on the effect of the added traffic.

On Tuesday, Fuccillo suggested the three-lane configuration be changed to have a dedicated left-turn lane, a left-turn lane combined with a through lane and a dedicated right-turn lane.

Fuccillo said the new laning, to take about three weeks, will require reprogramming the traffic signal computer, repainting lane arrows and installing new signs. Applegate said the city will try to have the work done during less busy traffic times. He said the cost of the changes would be covered by contingency money set aside for extra costs in the project.

To make the signal timing work, the city must change Greenley Road's middle northbound through lane into a combined left-turn/through lane.

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