New Glenwood traffic light causing some confusion |

New Glenwood traffic light causing some confusion

John Gardner
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Kelley Cox Post Independent

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – While the new configuration of the Glenwood Springs 116 interchange seems to be moving traffic along more efficiently, it seems that some motorists are having a hard time adjusting to some of the newly placed traffic signals.

“It’s kind of a mixed bag,” said Glenwood Police Chief Terry Wilson. “The prevailing response I’ve gotten from people is that it’s helping move cars through the intersection, which is the intent of it, but there is some confusion of what is legal at the light.”

And some concerns of the visibility of the light have also been expressed to Wilson and his officers.

More specifically, the one traffic signal just after the right-hand turn from Sixth Street onto the Grand Avenue Bridge. The past configuration had a single traffic turn lane where motorists did not have to stop before turning onto the bridge.

However, the new configuration includes a red-arrow traffic light that requires traffic to stop at the turn. It’s that one aspect that is confusing some motorists, and has caused a few accidents.

According to Wilson, police have fielded some questions from motorists regarding if they have to stop or not at the red arrow signal, since they are making a right-hand turn? A similar action that is permitted at a normal red traffic light.

“The answer is no,” Wilson said, citing Colorado’s model traffic code which simply states that right hand turns are prohibited at intersections where red arrow traffic signals are used.

Normally, right-hand turns are permitted at red lights, when the motorist can safely proceed. Cities have to prohibit the action at those intersections if they do not want to allow people to turn right on red lights. That instance is similar to some of the Grand Avenue traffic lights in Downtown Glenwood Springs where sings indicate that right-hand turns on red-lights are prohibited when pedestrians are present.

That too, creates some confusion for drivers, Wilson said.

“That is also a confusing point,” he said. “Does that mean pedestrians in the area, or in the crosswalk?”

According to Wilson, police interpret that matter as “someone in the process of crossing the street.”

Since the implementation of the new traffic signal at the entrance of the Grand Avenue bridge, Wilson said that police have only responded to two or three accidents. The accidents were a result of confusion, Wilson said, and of motorists not yet familiar with the changes to the intersection.

“They don’t realize [the traffic light] is there until it’s almost too late,” Wilson said.

But a few minor fender benders and related accidents are typical with any traffic change, according to Wilson. However, the incidents at the new traffic light at Sixth Street and Grand Avenue Bridge have not been overwhelming, in his opinion.

“It’s been more of people getting used to the changes,” he said. “It seems to be settling in a little. We’ll give it some time to see what happens with it.”

Colorado Department of Transportation spokeswoman Nancy Shanks said that CDOT crews installed a variable message sign shortly after construction ended in November. And other than a few minor accidents, Shanks said that CDOT has not had any complaints on the new configuration.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.