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New flashing yellow traffic lights require cautious approach

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Posted: Monday, November 5, 2012 11:06 pm | Updated: 11:55 am, Mon Jan 21, 2013.

FAIRBANKS — This should be as easy as red light, green light.

The first of 35 new flashing yellow turn signal lights to be installed in the next year will start casting golden beams on local motorists Wednesday.

The new traffic lights are on First Avenue, at Cushman and Barnette, and at Illinois and Minnie Street. Those are to be lighted Wednesday when First Avenue returns to two-way traffic on the stretch between Cushman and Barnette after 37 years as a one-way route.

This is the first stage in the traffic revisions associated with the opening of the new Barnette Street bridge, officially known as Veterans’ Memorial Bridge.

As of Wednesday, traffic headed west on First Avenue will face a left-turn arrow at Barnette. Traffic headed east on First Avenue will face a left-turn arrow at Cushman.

When you are making a left turn against traffic, the solid green arrow will light up when you have the right of way.

But when the green light goes out, it will be replaced by a yellow light and a red light in quick succession. After a moment, the flashing yellow light will start up.

When the arrow is flashing yellow, you can proceed only after yielding to oncoming traffic and/or pedestrians.

After a decent interval, the flashing yellow light will give way to a solid yellow arrow. The solid yellow arrow is to remain lighted for about three seconds.

After that, the red arrow will light up. At two other intersections, the yellow flashing lights will be in operation next Monday, when the Barnette bridge is to open. Those lights are in front of the News-Miner on Terminal Street and the intersection of Illinois Street and Phillips Field Road.

The flashing yellow lights were first used in Alaska in Juneau in 2009 and the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities cites national studies saying that they lead to greater safety and fewer accidents..

When the flashing yellow arrow is replaced by the solid yellow arrow, you must stop, according to the state drivers’ manual, “unless you are already within the intersection or so close to the intersection that you cannot stop safely. In that case, proceed through the intersection making the indicated turn.”

•••

LOGGING ROAD CLOSED: The state closed the Rosie Creek logging road off the Parks Highway Thursday, saying people had been using it to illegally cut large white spruce for firewood.

This area has not been open to firewood cutting since last October. In the past birch and aspen cutting had been allowed.

Some of the spruce trees that were cut had already been sold by the state to a commercial buyer through a bid process. There are also reports that illegal cutting of large white spruce is taking place in several other areas off the Parks Highway and Chena Hot Springs Road.

There are seven areas established for cutting firewood for personal use in the Fairbanks area — Bonanza Creek, Mosquito Creek, Nenana Ridge, Skinny’s, Two Rivers, Cache Creek and Standard Creek.

Permits are $10 per cord, with a 10-cord maximum per family.

•••

MINING HALL OF FAME: The Alaska Mining Hall of Fame plans to induct mining pioneers Merton Marston, Mattie Crosby and Toivo Rosander Thursday in conjunction with the Alaska Miners Association annual convention in Anchorage.

The three additions to the hall will bring the total membership of the hall of fame to 86 miners. The real value of the hall of fame is that it helps preserve mining history.

Chuck Hawley and Tom Bundtzen have researched most of the members of the hall and written profiles of their lives. Kurt Freeman has also done some and other historians have contributed as well.

The hall was founded 15 years ago and the board members are hoping to find a permanent home for it.

Bundtzen is the president of the hall. Before him, the effort was headed first by Earl Beistline and then by Mary Nordale.

Of the three new members, Marston was a leader in the Iditarod mining community in the early 20th Century, while Crosby was also a leader in Iditarod and Flat. Known as “Tootsie,” she grubstaked many miners and was a prominent businesswoman.

Rosander emigrated from Finland as a child and was a placer miner for about 70 years in western Alaska.

 Dermot Cole can be reached at cole@newsminer.com or 459-7530.

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