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West Y turn signal in Cortez is now controlled

The Colorado Department of Transportation has changed how the signal works at the intersection of U.S. Highway 491 and U.S. Highway 160 for safety reasons.
Flashing yellow signal led to confusion, accidents

A flashing yellow left turn signal can be confusing for motorists who don’t realize it means they must yield to oncoming traffic — and the mistake can have dire consequences.

That happened on July 19 at about 11 p.m. when a northbound tractor trailer on U.S. 160/491 traveled through the flashing yellow arrow and collided with a southbound passenger car, resulting in serious injury to the occupants of the car, according to a city of Cortez news release.

“Given the extreme results of accidents at this location, The Colorado Department of Transportation and the City of Cortez have determined that the safety of our traveling public demands that the permissive turns be eliminated,” the City stated in a news release July 23.

The “West Y” intersection of U.S. Highway 491 and U.S. Highway 160 will now be fully controlled at all times of the day and night for the northbound vehicles on U.S. Highway 160/491 turning left onto U.S. Highway 491 at this intersection.

CDOT has implemented this change from the flashing yellow arrows at other locations around the region where crashes have continued to be an issue.

“We understand this could be an inconvenience for some travelers and citizens of Cortez, however this area is a public safety issue and needs to be done,” said Cortez Police Chief Vernon Knuckles in a news release. “We are grateful that our partners at CDOT are on board to help make this change.”

For more information, call the Cortez Police Department at 970-565-8441.