As work continues along U.S. 31W in southern Radcliff, a growing trend of road work called R-Cuts are part of the changes motorists will see once work is soon completed.
Formerly known as J-Turns, there are three currently under construction at 31W intersections at Ky. 220, Ky. 434 and Blackjack Road.
Kentucky Transportation Cabinet District 4 spokesman Chris Jessie said the R-Cuts are becoming more common along well-traveled roadways.
Once the work is completed later this month, the U.S. 31W R-Cuts will join only two others installed in Hardin County at Ky. 361 at Deckard School Road and Ky. 313 at Ky. 1646.
The R-Cuts allow motorists to take a legal u-turn, with an eye on safety, Jessie said.
“Advantages are mostly safety oriented, but some travel time can also be reduced without having to wait for signals,” he said. “Ultimately, the R-Cut design greatly reduces conflict points.”
The R-Cuts allow motorists to get into a left lane of traffic on U.S. 31W and once traffic is clear they are allowed to turn around, going from a southbound lane to a northbound lane of travel, for instance.
Jessie said there’s a similar design installation on 31W just north of Ky. 313 at the Walmart Neighborhood Market entrance. That design is not completely the same as the ones already installed or the ones that will soon open, although it serves a similar purpose.
“The R-Cut directs flow in a manner less likely to result in a crash,” he said. “They are becoming a more utilized option as a means to simply reduce likelihood of crashes. Also, they are often implemented in areas where capacity increase is needed but traditional widening or right-of-way acquisition is not feasible due to space or excessive costs for larger scale improvement projects.”
Jessie said the terminology being used by the Federal Highway Administration and KYTC Design and Planning Divisions describes the areas as R-Cuts, although the term J-Turn is popularly applied to several similar designs.
Radcliff Police Department Chief Jeff Cross said it will take a period of time to determine the effectiveness of R-Cuts on driver safety.
“Only time will tell what kind of difference it will make,” he said. “I would suspect side collisions would go down, the T-Bone accidents. It will be interesting to see if there is any change in rear-end collisions because you have to get over into that lane and sometimes it could back up traffic.”
Jessie said for a full R-Cut intersection, the minimum spacing between the main intersection and the U-turn location typically is 600 feet with no median opening inside that 600-foot stretch of roadway. He said any access within the 600 feet of the main intersection would be a “right-in, right-out.”
Cross said the design on 31W north of 313 in front of several restaurants and businesses has been effective.
“It’s made a difference there as far as people pulling out of McDonald’s and Colton’s and places like that,” he said. “We had some fatals before we got it so, just based on that, it’s been effective and made a difference in some aspects.”
R-Cuts also will be part of future work on U.S. 31W in Elizabethtown once that project secures funding for a 2.8-mile stretch of road from St. John Road to Veterans Way.
“We are eagerly awaiting funding of a contract, which has been ready to go for some time, to rehab pavement along Dixie highway through Elizabethtown from St. John Road up to Veterans Way,” Jessie said.