The half-loop intersection design — known to out-of-staters as the Jersey Jughandle, requiring motorists to turn right even when they want to go left — is failing the test of high-volume traffic, said Sen. James W. Holzapfel, R-Ocean.
A bill proposed by Holzapfel would ban future construction of jughandles on the state’s roads and highways. The Senate Transportation Committee will have a public hearing Monday on the bill.
While there are certainly jughandles that need to be reviewed and perhaps replaced, eliminating them from future consideration is a fool’s errand. Jughandles, while misunderstood, can actually be quite beneficial because they allow through traffic to keep left and not have to break for another car slowing down to get in a left-turn lane.
New Jersey has at least 600 jughandles, more than any other U.S. state, according to Tim Greeley, a spokesman for the state Transportation Department. The turns were engineered to remove left-turning vehicles from higher-speed lanes and control the congestion approaching a traffic light. They send drivers on a right-hand exit, then onto a U-shaped stretch that ends at the intersection with the original road. Cars go straight across the road and continue on their way — a three-step left turn…
“Jughandles provide more storage for vehicles off the main line and keep them out of harm’s way. If you created a direct left-hand turn lane in a place of high volume, cars could stack up and interfere with movement of cars in a highway’s fast lane. That reduces the ability of the main line to handle traffic volume,’’ Dee said. “It’s also pedestrian-friendly. An intersection with one or more left turning lanes creates a greater area for a pedestrian to transverse. Jughandles can improve both the safety and operational aspects of an intersection.’’
A Federal Highway Administration study of five years of crash data at 94 New Jersey intersections found lower accident rates at jughandle intersections compared to conventional designs. That included crashes with injuries and those with only property damage. The jughandle intersections also had lower rates of head-on crashes.
Yup that’s a lot of jughandles so much that’s I heard New Jersey’s state motto is “All Turns from the Right Lane.” Here’s another thing:
Among intersections with similar volumes, traffic moves faster through those with jughandles than those without.
So, jughandles move traffic faster and have lower accident rates. What’s the problem again, Senator?